Redefine beauty with positive body image

Story and gallery by MORGAN STEWART

“In the last decade, there was a 446 percent increase in the number of cosmetic procedures in the U.S., with 92 percent performed on women. The majority being liposuction,” according to Beauty Redefined.

Today more than ever women and young girls are facing unrealistic ideals about beauty and body image. Coming from every media outlet, these beauty standards are becoming extremely harmful to the thoughts and minds of young girls and women all over the world.

Identical twins Lexie and Lindsay Kite recognized this issue and established the nonprofit organization Beauty Redefined in 2013 after obtaining their doctoral degrees from the University of Utah. After great research and study the twins have made it their mission to shine light on the effects of the beauty standards that are portrayed in the media and to start a different conversation about body image.

Their Story

As young girls, the twins were avid competitive swimmers starting at just 6 years old. The girls loved to swim until their attention moved from their actual performance to the way they looked in their swimsuits, Lindsay writes on the organization’s website. This started the girls’ “preoccupation with weight loss” that consumed so much of their thoughts and actions during their developmental years.

But the girls were not alone. Many of their friends were experiencing the same thoughts and emotions toward their bodies and appearances. The common factor that the girls believe attributed to some of these thoughts was the “easy access to media our entire lives,” Lindsay wrote.

Movies, television, social media and magazines all portray a certain standard for beauty. What is cool, what is not cool, what is thin, what is fat, and even what it means to be successful. And the list goes on.


Today, Beauty Redefined has become a successful tool for spreading awareness of the damaging cultural standards that are portrayed in the media. Lexie and Lindsay travel the world teaching about positive body image and their strategies for developing what they call “body image resilience.”

In an online interview with the women they described body image resilience as “the ability to become stronger because of the difficulties and objectification women experience living in their bodies, not just in spite of those hard things.”

Through their speeches, website, blog, social media accounts and eight-week body image resilience program the twins are helping women and girls all around the world to shut down these ideals and to build positive body image from within.

The Beauty Redefined “Body Image Resilience Program” is an eight-unit online program. The program is designed to teach women how to recognize harmful messages in the media and how to reflect on the ways in which those messages impact their daily lives. Furthermore, the program guides women through the process of redefining beauty and how we think about beauty, health and self-worth.

Though there are many “well-intentioned” people who promote positive body image by telling women to embrace their beauty and bodies, Beauty Redefined takes a different approach. “Beauty Redefined is changing the conversation about body image by telling girls and women they are MORE than beautiful,” Lexie told me. “We assert positive body image is about feeling positively toward your body overall, not just what it looks like.”

The Beauty Redefined mantra is: “Women are more than just bodies. See more. Be more.”

Because media in all forms are becoming increasingly easy to access, the popularity of various social media platforms has skyrocketed in the past few years as well as the negative effects that accompany them.

I asked the women how they felt the rise of social media has been affecting women today. “As image-based social media content like Instagram and Pinterest have soared in popularity, so has the endless self-comparison so many girls and women engage in. That self-comparison is a trap, a ‘thief of joy,’ and leads to unhappiness,” they said.

To avoid the harm of self-comparison and the other dangerous messages portrayed in the media the sisters recommend going on a “media fast.” Avoid the use of any and all forms of media for a few days to “give your mind the opportunity to become more sensitive to the messages that don’t look like or feel like the truths you experience in real life, face to face with real fit people and your own health choices,” Lexie suggested. By eliminating media for a period of time you allow yourself to become more aware of these messages and the way they truly make you feel.

Another tip the women shared with me is to “stay away from mirrors while exercising.” Research has shown that women who work out in front of mirrors are less likely to perform to the best of their ability because their focus is on how they look rather than what their bodies are able to do.

Finally, “use your body as an instrument, not an ornament: When women learn to value their bodies for what they can do rather than what they look like, they improve their body image and gain a more powerful sense of control,” Lexie said. This is the mantra that much of the organization’s content stems from.

Moving Forward

Though there are many issues concerning female body image and the way women’s bodies are portrayed in the media, the biggest issues are that “women’s bodies are valued more than women themselves,” Lexie said.

Objectification is the root of these issues and both men and women must fight to stop it.

The sisters believe that “progress for all of society requires valuing women for more than our parts, not simply expanding the definition of which parts are valuable.”



University of Utah students discuss their passion for medicine and science

What university students are enduring now to be successful later on.

Story and slideshow by Ryan Matthew Thurston

It’s late on a Saturday night, and while most students are sleeping, partying or hanging out with friends, Ben Battistone, a freshman from Salt Lake City, is busy studying.

“I spend 15 to 20 hours a week on homework, conservatively. If it’s a test week I spend probably about 30,” he said.

He has a good reason to study. Although Battistone is only 19, he has big plans for the future: He wants to be a doctor.

“My dad is a doctor, so I grew up around it,” he said. “I’ve always been a quantitative person, so the sciences come naturally.”

Battistone has been studying at the University of Utah for almost a year. He’s not entirely sure what kind of doctor he wants to be, but whatever his specialty, his primary focus is helping people.

“I want to make a positive difference,” he said. “I really hope people don’t do it for money or job security. You’re sacrificing quality of care. If someone’s in it for the money, they won’t be as passionate and motivated as if they’re in it for the people.”

Helping patients is an essential part of any medical profession. As one doctor told Battistone, “They don’t treat patients, they treat people.” But he says the extra workload is worth it.

“Students in general are under a lot of pressure,” Battistone said. “You have to balance a lot of things in class while being asked to somehow take extracurricular activities. It’s crazy sometimes.”

The tremendous workload is a common theme among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. Ben Adams, a biomedical engineering major from Salt Lake City, has experienced similar trials in his pursuit of going to medical school.

“I don’t know that the major is the most important part of it,” Adams explained. “I’ve been considering changing my major to biochemistry or kinesiology.”

Between taking classes and studying, Adams also plays defense for the No. 1 ranked lacrosse team in the nation. Participating in sports has also influenced his career path.

“This summer I had a hip surgery done,” he said. “That doctor was incredible. He did such a great job that it made me think this is maybe something I want to look into.”

Like Battistone, Adams only takes four classes a semester, but considers his workload to be significantly more. Each class requires more work outside of it and contains harder concepts within.

“I’m in 12 credit hours, and it’s supposed to be a lighter load,” he explained. “But I probably spend upwards of four hours a day on calculus and bioengineering.”

Such a workload might seem unfamiliar to students with different majors. But for STEM majors and pre-med students, it’s a common thread that binds them together.

“I think about how the workload differs between majors a lot,” Adams said. “Some kids have 16 credit hours and have more free time whereas I’m swamped the whole day.”

Adams isn’t complaining though. He understands the work he has to put in might be more than someone else, comparatively.

“The end goal is very desirable,” he said. “Helping other people is something I want to do. It’s challenging but worth it.”

Helping people is a consistent theme across STEM majors, even for those who don’t want to go to medical school. Stella Ray is a chemistry major from Park City, Utah, but says she eventually wants to teach the subject in high school.

“I took chemistry all three years in high school,” she said. “I was a teaching assistant and tutor for it as well, and that’s how I decided I wanted to teach it at the high school level.”

Although Ray is only 19, education has always been something she’s wanted to work in. She explained that while chemistry can be challenging, having to work hard to understand the material has given her a greater appreciation for it.

“I like the challenge that chemistry poses,” she said. “Physics makes like no sense to me, but chemistry poses enough of a challenge that I had to work at it, and because of that I ended up liking it more.”

Ray also puts a lot into her studies, but often does so with friends to make things easier.

“The classes that require the most effort are my calculus and chemistry classes for sure,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like a ton of work though, since I have such a good support group of friends.”

Interaction with others is something Ray anticipates as she pursues her career.

“I think maybe more so than the subject of chemistry I love teaching,” she said. “That is my No. 1 priority, to become a teacher.”

Ray explained that in high school, she was amazed how different teachers led to different experiences for students.

“A lot of my peers have had different teachers,” she said. “Usually if they didn’t like chemistry it was because of the teacher they had. If you have a good teacher, even if the subject doesn’t come naturally, you’re still going to enjoy it more. I want to be the teacher that makes this subject accessible to everyone.”

Whether they are studying anatomy, chemistry or biology, the students at the University of Utah all seem to be tied together by more than just their workloads. Those who really work at it all seem to have one goal in common: helping others.



University of Utah Climbing Team prepares to defend its title

Story and media by ERIC JEROME

“Keep it up guys’ just one more set,” Danny Popowski shouts encouragingly to the three University of Utah Climbing Team members he is currently working with.

Using impressive strength and determination, the women pull themselves up the campus board, a  series of wooden rungs designed to improve power and contact strength by executing vertical hand movements without the use of one’s feet. Hand over hand they repeat various exercises, going up and down the board athletically

In another area of The Front Climbing Club, located at 1470 S. 400 West in Salt Lake City, team members are simulating the format of a competition. The athletes are trying to onsight boulder problems that are difficult for them. This means that they are trying to complete a climb that they are seeing for the first time within four minutes without any outside assistance.

Those who specialize in sport climbing, longer endurance-based climbing utilizing a rope, are climbing laps on tall overhung walls. They’re pumping their forearms with lactic acid to increase their endurance.

Elsewhere, climbers planning to compete in the third and final discipline, speed climbing, are busy dashing up the 15-meter regulation speed climbing wall. They are trying to improve their times by making up for small errors and dialing in their muscle memory.

In April 2017, the U Climbing Team became collegiate national champions after a grueling two-day competition in California. This year, the team is hungry to defend its title and is training harder than ever.

Popowski, 24, has recently purchased a 2,800-square-foot house in the Marmalade district of Salt Lake City. He has been working to remodel and furnish the two-story place. It isn’t for him, however. Popowski is getting the house ready to be rented as an Airbnb. It’s a lofty and ambitious task, but he is accustomed to those.

After finishing his competitive youth climbing career, Popowski moved to Salt Lake City from Maryland to pursue climbing and attend the U. Collegiate competitions seemed like the next step for him. However, there was no climbing team, and Popowski attended nationals in 2014 as the U’s only competitor.

In 2015, Popowski founded the team along with friends Casey Elliot and Ben Roa. Under Popowski’s coaching, the team placed third overall that year at nationals in San Diego.

Elliot, Roa, Popowski, and another team member made the U.S. team and qualified for the World Cup in Shanghai, China, that fall.

Continuing its momentum, in 2017 the team took first place overall at nationals.

That September, the climbing team had its largest tryout and saw a lot of new talent from across the country. After a difficult round, the team was trimmed down to 15 men and 15 women.

Monica Barnes, 19, from Golden, Colorado, is one of the many new additions to the team.

Although she only started climbing in January 2017, Barnes said she loved it so much she climbed every single day for three months. During this time she heard about the climbing team and it became a big motivator for her.

“I climbed really poorly during tryouts and was very sure that I hadn’t made the team. So when the list came out and I saw my name was on it I was super stoked,” Barnes said.

Since joining the team in September 2017, Barnes said she has become a much better climber. She attributes her improvement to the presence of more experienced climbers on the team. “Having good climbers around you to boost your mental game and convince you that you can succeed and be confident in your own climbing was huge for me,” Barnes said.

Barnes has been training hard, but having never seriously competed before, her main goals for the Collegiate National Championships are to have fun, try her hardest, and feel as though she climbed her best. Additionally, Barnes looks forward to supporting her teammates. “It will also be really fun to watch my friends compete in finals, because I am sure that several people from the team will make it,” Barnes said.

In contrast to Barnes who only recently started climbing, Sam Enright, 19, from Boston, Massachusetts, is a sponsored athlete who has been competing at a high level since the age of 10 and moved to Utah to pursue climbing.

Enright says that being on the team has helped to keep him on a strict training plan and he has also made a lot of friends from it.

Enright, who has attended many national championships and world cups, is looking forward to collegiate nationals. “I am excited for collegiate nationals because it’s a bigger competition and has that big competition feel, but it is a little more relaxed and doesn’t come along with as much intensity and pressure. I’ve been told it is more social and all the teams from around the country hang out and have fun together,” Enright said.

A seasoned athlete, Enright’s goals for the competition are lofty. He wants to make finals in all three disciplines (sport, speed and bouldering), and also make it onto the podium in at least one of those.

As practice winds down Popowski tells the team, “Remember, all of this hard work will pay off when we are smiling for the cameras as back-to-back national champs.”

The Collegiate National Championships will be held April 20 and 21, 2018, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Houston.


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Local entrepreneurs discuss new wedding business in Salt Lake City

Story and gallery by JOE WOOLLEY

Simon Morris, 36, a local entrepreneur who was born in Salt Lake City, has always dreamt of one day owning his own business. When his fiancée, Sarah Beale, 34, pitched the idea of starting a business together late one night he jumped at the opportunity.

“All dreams are possible if you work hard and believe they can happen,” he said.

Morris grew up in a military household and was expected to follow his brothers into the Army. Morris had other interests such as fashion but felt so much pressure from his father to join the military, so he kept his passion to himself.

After a childhood full of expectation, Morris joined the Army at the age 18 and was due for deployment September 2001. However, his world changed as it did for so many when the World Trade Center in New York was hit by hijacked planes.

“The experiences from the Army will follow me in every aspect of life, but it was time for a change,” Morris said.

His priorities had changed and he no longer wanted to be a part of the Army. “I know to some people it may be foolish, but I didn’t sign up to be fighting terrorists. I wanted to  follow my dreams and be involved in fashion,” Morris said.

In 2001 Morris went to New York and attended Fashion Institute of Technology to study fashion. He was finally content with his job and never looked back. After graduating in 2005, he went straight into the fashion world and began designing wedding dresses for Roma weddings.

During his period in college he met Beale during one of his art classes. He claimed that it was “love at first sight,” and the two of them hit it off straight away. He admitted that he’s not sure where he would be without the help of his companion.

In 2012 Beale owned a Toni and Guy hairdressers in Nottingham, United Kingdom. She loved the responsibility of owning a business. However, unforeseen circumstances forced her to leave and move onto a new chapter. “I loved satisfying people and giving them makeovers is one of the most rewarding jobs out there,” Beale said.

After learning the couple shared the same ambition of owning a business, Beale thought it would be a great idea for them to follow their dreams. She said, “I didn’t really know what business he wanted, but I gathered we could integrate our skills and create something amazing.”

After many discussions the couple decided to create a company which focuses on wedding days. They both agreed that they could incorporate their skills and give the special day something extra.

Morris committed to the wedding dress designs along with the choice of venue, while Beale would take the responsibility of hair and makeup. He said, “It was really a dream come true for me, when Sarah first pitched the idea to me I was very concerned, however, after going over the risks I decided it would be a good idea for us to give it a try.”

The business is yet to officially be launched as Beale is still in the works of getting her medical aesthetician certificate, but once that is completed they can offer their services to the public. While they cannot officially start their business, they are currently in negotiations on where to set up the main office.

“The whole process has been a blur, it only seems like yesterday since I pitched the idea to Simon,” Beale said. Even though they can’t make the company public yet they have been offering people a free makeover session to experience some of the work that they will be offering.

Lindsay Bollschweiler, one of the people who experienced this free makeover session, said, “This is one of the most amazing makeovers I have ever had. My wedding is sometime next year so I will certainly be using the services of Simon and Sarah to help with the big day.”

Another person who experienced this free makeover was Maddison Kemp, who could not speak highly enough of the professional approach Beale took. “The things that this woman can do with a makeup brush is amazing. Not only did I love the makeup, but I enjoyed the company from both Sarah and Simon. They were so welcoming.”

The pressures of starting a business had been much different than what Morris expected, but he reassures himself daily that all of the hardship will be worth it in the future. “I never thought that this process would be easy, but every single day comes with a new challenge,” Morris said.

Going from the Army then to fashion was a major change for Morris, but he said the challenges created from this project have been much more difficult for him.

The wedding dress designs seem like a breeze to Morris who learnt his trade during his time at school. He took several designated classes to learn how to design wedding dresses and holds the ability to create a dress for personal specifications. However, the venue choice did seem to unnerve him a little. “I often know what people like, but weddings are such a particular case, so I have to be extremely careful when judging a person’s character,” he said.

Beale said that she has never seen Morris this stressed about life. But, she continues to remind him of the end product. “I have been doing makeup and hair for a long time, so I am very much in my element, whereas Simon is not so much in his comfort zone so it’s difficult for him,” she said.

Morris added, “We just want to make people happy. I understand how important their wedding day is and I want to make it my duty to give them the best day of their lives. If I can put a smile on just one person’s face a day then I’ve achieved something.”


Business owners discuss their journeys and advice for U students with start-ups

Story and gallery by ANDREA BECERRA

By making a business out of a personal interest, working will never feel like a drag. Many people have had at least one great business idea, but have never gone through with it due to fear of failure.

The majority of business-owners will admit that they have failed many times, but learning from mistakes allows a business to thrive. What do business owners have to say to people who want to start their own business?

Amber Barron, a junior at the University of Utah, is a part of a business called SHERO. SHERO first began when Barron, her classmates, and professor, saw that there was a real need for biodegradable products because there is a great amount of waste associated with feminine care. They quickly began to create a start-up business.

Barron said SHERO makes affordable biodegradable feminine hygiene products. The business name stands for Sustainable Hygiene Engineering Research and Operations, but it was initially named due to the combination of female-hero. The founders of SHERO are Jeff Bates, Alicia Dibble, Ashlea Patterson and Barron. Since then, several others have joined the team.

The average woman disposes of 6,000 pounds of feminine hygiene products over the course of her lifetime into landfills, so this is an issue they are resolving. Barron said SHERO is trying to target two groups. The first group is women who have access to feminine hygiene products but are wanting to be more sustainably minded. The second group is women who don’t have access to affordable products. SHERO will provide the pads at a discounted price.

SHERO is currently working on research and development of materials, specifically fine-tuning the super-absorbent polymer, a key component to their unique pads. Once they complete the fine-tuning, Barron said they will be sending it out for manufacturing.

The U students who are running SHERO participate in Lassonde’s mentoring program. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the U. The mentoring program allows students to use the space, materials and 3D printers.

The students who run SHERO participated in the “Get Seeded Monthly Milestone Funding Program” — a program that is sponsored by Zions Bank. This is a pitch event to help aspiring student entrepreneurs by receiving a grant to get a business idea off the ground. SHERO received $3,000 from this program, which Barron said helped tremendously.

Another competition that the U students participated in was called, “Bench to Bedside.” SHERO was awarded funding from that as well.

Barron always imagined that starting a business would be difficult. “There are a lot of hoops to jump through, but there is a really strong program at Lassonde,” Barron said. Her advice to University of Utah students who are wanting to start their own business is to make use of the amazing resources that are offered at Lassonde, like attending their events and activities.

Barron suggests to students that if there is a professor who has a lot of experience in the field one is interested in, feel free to pick their brain. Professors can oftentimes connect you to people who may be helpful.

Connections are very useful when you have a business. Richard Becker, a Utah business owner, shared how important networking is. “I sign up to attend as many business events in my field of interest, as I can,” Becker said. He owns the company, Rota Farms, with a long-standing tradition of growing and producing fruits with biodynamic systems that he designed and developed. Rota Farms not only controls its own fields but also third parties worldwide.

Since Becker’s interest is based on agriculture and exportation, he attends many events hosted by Utah World Trade Center.

“University of Utah students have many resources at their fingertips, that they should be using. Especially students who are starting their own business,” Becker said. He also recommends students do as much research as possible, as well as work in the field of interest first in order to learn what one should and shouldn’t do.

Bibi Paredes co-owns Rota Farms with her husband, Richard Becker. She has advice for students as well. “Working every day with your spouse or friend not only requires a lot of patience but also the ability to separate your work and personal life as much as possible,” Paredes said.

She mentions that owning a business has great ups and downs, which can cause stress at times. “It is crucial to save as much money as possible, even when the business is doing really well. Most times businesses have seasons of high profit, and others when money gets tight, so one must have funds for emergencies,” Paredes said.

Overall, Becker and Paredes say that having your own business is very rewarding, and they wouldn’t trade the experience they have had for anything. “Never let fear get in the way of pursuing your dreams and passions,” Becker said.




Joe Woolley



profile picMy story about an exciting new company in Salt Lake City really caught my attention when I saw an advertisement on Instagram. I didn’t know the person who uploaded the advertisement, however, I had a friend who shared it on to my Explore page. After witnessing this advertisement, I knew that this was something that I wanted to share with more people.

I was able to locate my sources through the advertisement. It documented the number of the owners and allowed me to reach out and make contact with them. I was also lucky enough to get some personal accounts from people who have had makeovers by the two owners.

The founders were the best sources for my story. Their insight into what it really takes to create a new business which nobody had ever tried before is something that no one else could have offered. I really hope that everybody can witness from my story how they overcame certain challenges.

Thankfully, I did not encounter any problems that affected my story or the way it was told.

I made sense of all the information I gained by constantly going back over my writing and absorbing all the information. I was making constant little changes to my writing until I saw a pattern which really made the story flow.

I would say the biggest challenge I encountered during this story was the writing process. It took a lot of time and stress to figure out how I wanted to portray the company, however, after learning how I wanted to write the story it became much more efficient and free-flowing.

I couldn’t have added more detail to the story without it becoming too much for the reader.

I surprised myself with how well I was able to adapt when an interview wasn’t going according to plan. In my first interview I came across some trouble when I wasn’t getting the information I wanted out of my source, but instead of settling for what he gave me I asked a few more questions which gave me some much-needed answers.


I am a 20-year-old junior studying Journalism at the University of Utah. I have enjoyed my time here at the U, but I am excited to pursue my dreams in sports broadcasting. I am a proud member of the Utah men’s tennis team and I love giving back to the university community. I also plan on joining the U athletics council next year.

Sports has always been a massive part of my life and being able to incorporate that with my Journalism major is a dream come true for me. I would be thrilled to use my knowledge of sports and inform people about it through the form of broadcasting. I have an internship at the BBC next summer and I plan to take full advantage of the experience I gain to further knowledge on reporting.

When I am not in class you will find me on a tennis court, at a dog park, or sitting at home watching sports. I am currently writing an article about my time as a University student-athlete and plan to publish it when I graduate.


Three dessert shops in the Salt Lake Valley you need to try

Story and slideshow by ELIZABETH NYGAARD

Dessert is the best meal of the day.

If you’re looking for a delicious dessert for date night, family night or a birthday party, there are many Salt Lake City restaurants and bakeries where you can get your dessert fix. The list of desserts ranges from edible cookie dough, to out of the box ice cream, and gourmet desserts.

Edible cookie dough would have sounded weird a few years ago but Dough Co. a local Utah-based company, is doing dessert right, with eggless cookie dough options.

Dough Co. has a location in the Sugarhouse neighborhood at 2121 S. McClelland St. They are open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Dough Co. is opening a second location in South Jordan later this year.

Dough Co. offers a variety of edible cookie dough options, including milk n’ cookies, which is a scoop of edible cookie dough and ice cream and A shake with your choice of dough flavor blended with ice cream.

The Sander Family and Myles Sander, a student at Westminster, studying neuroscience were at Dough Co. to celebrate family night.

“We’ve been coming here for awhile now, my little brother loves cookie dough so whenever he picks dessert we come here.” he said.

Myles and his family shared the p’zookie, a warm skillet of melted cookie dough with ice cream on top.

Dough Co. has edible cookie dough in many different flavors ranging from: Chocolate Chip, Loaded Brownie, PB Explosion, Cake Batter, S’mores, Red Velvet, Oreo Thin Mint, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pretzel.

The March 2018 flavor of the month is Cookies & Cream.

Dough Co. gives out samples of dough for guests that are unsure of what to get.

If edible cookie dough isn’t your thing and you’re more of an ice cream person head to Trolley Square to try Normal ice cream.

Normal ice cream is a food truck located at 600 S. 700 East inside Trolley Square for the winter season. The shop is open Wednesday through Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday 1-7 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Normal is a local food truck and it is women owned and operated.

Gabby Snow, a student at the University of Utah and her boyfriend, Weston Don Merkey, love Normal ice cream.

“We went to Normal for ice cream for date night tonight. We love it here!” Snow said. “I got the Tutti Frutti (earl grey and pomegranate twist, fruity pebbles, passion fruit caramel, and toshi cherry) and Weston got a cone of the London Fog (Earl Grey soft serve, dark chocolate dip, lavender ganache, and cotton candy).”

Snow tells her friends, “The flavors are all diverse so if you’re looking for out of the box ice cream come here!”

Normal ice cream changes its ice cream flavors, but they are always diverse and exciting.

Normal serves composed cones, which are six specially created cones, and on Sundays Normal offers a doughnut ice cream sandwich. Other ice cream sandwiches include dulce de leche filled banana ice cream served between shortbread cookies and dipped in dark chocolate.

The base ice cream flavors right now are Earl Grey, Vanilla Bean, Pomegranate, and Nutella.

If you’re looking for an all-around dessert shop, Last Course is the place for you.

Last Course has two locations: at 115 South Regent St. in Salt Lake City and at 185 E. 12300 South in Draper. Both shops are open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Mayra Repetto, a student at the U studying biology, raves about Last Course.

“My friends surprised me with a trip to Last Course for my birthday! I’ve always loved Last Course and the desserts here,” she said.

Last Course has gourmet desserts and ice cream, such as Strawberry Nachos, 24 Karat Cake, and Glamping S’mores.

“My favorite is probably the Upside Down Caramel Apple Pie, it’s so dreamy,” Mayra Repetto said.

The Upside Down Caramel Apple Pie is a cinnamon roll filled with layers of warm apples covered with salted caramel sauce and a streusel topping.

Last Course isn’t limited to just desserts. It also features gourmet ice cream scoops.

Everyday flavors include Tahitian Vanilla, Breakfast Cereal, Smoked Maple Bacon, and Olive Oil.

The breakfast cereal ice cream is cream infused with Trix Cereal, with chunks of Lucky Charms throughout.

The workers at Last Course offer an unlimited amount of tastes for guests.

Last Course is a Utah company that uses local ingredients to make its desserts.

The dessert shops around the Salt Lake Valley are not limited to these three. There are many options. These three shops cover all dessert favorites and happen to be many people’s top-three places to go.

Just as Mayra Repetto believes: “Dessert is spent better with friends and family!”

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Andrea Becerra



I originally developed my story ideas by beginning to think about how important it would be to let the readers know about small businesses in Utah. The reason why I wanted to focus on that was because I wanted a way to encourage University of Utah students to start their business and capture the unique experiences of several business owners.

I located one of my sources through one of my fellow classmates. A student heard my story idea and provided me the contact information for another University of Utah student who has started her own business. As for my other two sources, I was able to get in touch with them due to one of my good friends.

I found the best sources for my story because each one had a unique story to tell and each had unique advice for U students. Luckily, I did not encounter any obstacles, ethical issues or moral dilemmas. All sources were very open to answering questions and sharing their stories.

I decided my focus would be to highlight experiences of business owners. How I made sense of all the information I gathered was to revise my interview notes and highlight the most fitting information that fit my focus.

The writing process taught me a lot about my craft. I learned that I took useful notes while interviewing my sources and that recording the interview allowed me to not miss out on any important details.

What surprised me in the interviewing process was that all of my sources were happy to share their struggles, successes and what they would do differently if they could do it over again.

The overall lesson I learned from my interviews was to not let fear get in the way of what one wants to accomplish, and that being a student at the U comes with a lot of great benefits to help you every step of the way in starting a business.


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I always had a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I have always been interested in just about everything, which made it hard to narrow down what I wanted to do as a career. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a veterinarian, due to my love for animals. I changed my mind on that career as soon as I realized that I would be seeing many animals sick and injured.

I was raised having a business mindset. I grew up observing my dad run his business and teaching me many lessons. When I was around 7 years old, I began coming up with new ways to make some money. One of the ways I made money was that I asked my parents to buy me a bulk package of handmade greeting cards, and I went around my neighborhood and sold them individually. I quickly realized that I was not afraid to talk to anyone and that I wanted to have my own business someday.

When I was deciding what I exactly wanted to go to school for, it was a pretty easy choice. I am now a junior at the University of Utah and will be finishing in Spring 2019 with a BA in strategic communication. I am enjoying this major because it is setting up a great foundation for my MBA I plan to work hard for.

I am glad I have a great family that not only supports me but encourages me. I am thankful my dad taught me from a young age to be business-driven. He pushes me to be the best that I can be.

I enjoy a lot of activities in my free time. I love spending time outdoors, whether it is jogging at a park, walking my dogs, or hiking with friends. I really enjoy traveling to new places as often as I can, with my friends and family as well.

Girls on the Run: empowering girls from start to finish

Story and gallery by ERIN MARIE SLEATER

Girls on the Run Utah holds a simple yet powerful vision: creating a world where “every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”

Girls on the Run International was founded in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, before reaching Utah 11 years ago. “We started with two teams reaching about 30 girls,” Heidi Moreton, executive director of the Utah chapter, said. “Now, we have around 150 teams, 1,900 girls and 10,000 community members across Utah.”

The organization started with a group of volunteers and a few board members. Now there are five paid employees, 17 board members and hundreds of volunteers.

Moreton explains Girls on the Run is most easily defined as a nonprofit after-school youth development program. During the 12-week program, GOTR seeks to inspire girls to be healthy and confident through experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. The program aims to explore challenges participants face or will face in the future, as well as develop skills to navigate upcoming life experiences. Initially, the program gives girls a better understanding of individual identity, followed by emphasizing the importance of teamwork, then exploring how to positively connect with the community.

Moreton stresses that along with important life lessons, physical exercise is woven seamlessly into the program to implement healthy habits and an appreciation of fitness into the girls’ lives. The program leads to a 5-kilometer race giving the girls a framework for setting and achieving goals. GOTR also assists with educational expenses. With 55 percent of participants falling below the poverty line, the foundation will provide $160,000 in scholarships this year.

It’s easy to tell how passionate Moreton is about this organization. She beams as she explains what her position means: “As executive director, I am the leader of the organization. I always try to put the mission of the program first in all that I do. It is my goal to make sure I am delivering the highest quality program.”

Looking forward, Moreton explains she would like to increase GOTR Utah’s success by offering additional programming and events to support health and wellness.

“This year we are launching our summer programming, Camp GOTR, which will include the best of Girls on the Run programming combined with all the fun of summer camp. We also are offering our first ever women’s wellness event this year, called Actually I Can. The event will include life coaching activities that dive into how your thoughts drive your actions, body mapping, finding your soul line, meditation, yoga, a hike, and time well-spent with like-minded women.”

Pinpointing Moreton’s proudest moment at GOTR proved to be a challenge, as it became clear she has many to choose from. She settles on a moment from the 2016 5-kilometer race event at Liberty Park: “The last girl to cross the finish line had a disease which made it difficult for her to run. I was so proud to offer a program where this girl could really shine. Her mom and everyone who witnessed her finishing the race were in tears … her determination was so inspirational.”

It’s easy to see why GOTR Utah has grown so fast as Moreton explains the program more thoroughly. Through the program girls find the confidence, empowerment and the courage to be themselves. Lessons are designed to build girls’ self-worth and help them feel greater confidence in who they are. Activities help girls recognize their personal strengths and teach them how to stand up for themselves and others. Girls learn to recognize their star power and understand how to activate it. They learn to make healthy choices that stay with them for a lifetime.

Not only does the program benefit the participants, but the volunteers as well. Marissa Ulibarri, 20, started as a running buddy for the program but loved GOTR so much she became a junior coach, then a head coach while finishing her senior year of high school in Salt Lake City.

“The girls I worked with motivated me to be a better person,” Ulibarri says in a Skype interview. “Each time we met no matter how long of a day they had at school, they constantly gave it their all. Their positivity radiated and made my day so much better.”

Ulibarri says she also gained important leadership skills, as she was able to teach important lessons every day to the girls. “I was their mentor but they were my motivation to be an overall better person again. I wanted to be the best person that they could look up to.”

Ulibarri said she watches the girls gain self-confidence, communication skills, leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as gaining knowledge of stress, friendships, and intimate relationships, alcohol and drug abuse.

Moreton and Ulibarri both insist there’s no other organization that directly compares to GOTR. Ulibarri says, “The program benefits young girls to grow into mature young women who will be confident in themselves and their abilities, and gives a strong foundation to be powerful and influential women in our world.”


Best Friends Animal Society hopes to ‘Save Them All’ through NKUT initiatives

Story and gallery by KEATON SHIRK

The well-known scenery of Utah red rock complements the vast, open landscape that is home to 1,600 rescue animals in Kanab, Utah. Tucked away between national parks, these animals are living the good life.

The Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization providing a safe shelter for rescued animals brought in from around the world. Its strict policy as a no-kill animal organization aims to bring to the public’s attention solutions to help reduce the number of sheltered animals.

At the Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary, high-spirited and irresistibly lovable dogs greet you with wet kisses and the eagerness to tell their rescue story. They long for the right companion to come along with the willingness to lend an ear (maybe even a gentle belly rub too), while they grab your heart and prove why their life is valuable.

Pigs, bunnies, and parrots live at the sanctuary too and leave people impacted in unfamiliar yet awe-inspiring ways.

The Best Friends Animal Society was founded in the 1980s by a passionate group of individuals determined to save the lives of animals.

Despite the lack of public support and funding, Best Friends built the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary in Kanab in 1984. The sanctuary encompasses 3,700 acres of land.

“We had no visible means of support. We were hung out to dry. We were all in it together,” said Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends, on the website.

Euthanasia is the chosen method for population control in most animal shelters. In the 1980s, Best Friends Animal Society reported, “17 million animals were being killed each year in U.S Shelters.” Particularly, cats and dogs suffer from the highest kill rates among all sheltered animals.

Best Friends has initiated a campaign to make Utah a no-kill state. The initiative is called No-Kill Utah and it is hope to be reached by 2019.

The NKUT initiative began after the originators of Best Friends found themselves disturbed by the staggering statistic of cats and dogs killed yearly.

Best Friends has been working closely with animal shelters around Utah in an effort to break the rising trend of overpopulation in animal shelters. Overpopulation causes shelters to defer to euthanasia to reduce financial costs of caring for animals and maximizing space.

Right now Best Friends has partnered with 58 animal shelters in Utah. This number is growing as the campaign reaches new audiences.

All animals at Best Friends are given second chances, the kind of second chances that quite literally change their lives.

The slogan, “Save Them All,” is an anthem for employees and volunteers. It also serves as a compelling reminder, that killing homeless animals is an unnecessary solution to an issue that can be changed.

The sanctuary welcomes animals that have been neglected, treated unjustly or suffered life threatening physical conditions. The founders hoped, “to give homeless animals the chance to live a fulfilling life.” 

Their hopes still reign true today. Every year, data is collected and shows more animals successfully leaving shelters alive to live in homes with welcoming hearts. 

Because of the impact Best Friends had on the community of Utah animals, expansion is taking place in other cities in the United States. Best Friends adoption facilities are open in Atlanta, New York and two in Los Angeles. 

Joan Filla, from Wisconsin, has been coming to Best Friends for nine years. She visits only three times each year.

She has witnessed the physical growth at Best Friend’s sanctuary. Filla said in an interview that there are more buildings available to care for animals.

Not only has Best Friends grown physically, Filla also said that awareness for sheltered animals is extending farther than Utah boundaries. She found the best way for her to advocate about the mission of Best Friends is to simply wear her volunteer T-shirt.

Filla said people consistently approach her and ask what Best Friends Animal Society is. She uses this interaction as a way to promote and advocate for the organization and the no-kill initiatives currently in effect.

Best Friends has initiated a campaign to make Utah a no-kill state. The initiative is called No-Kill Utah and it is hoped to be achieved by 2019.

This would mean all animals in the state of Utah are guaranteed their life, regardless if physical space in animal shelters is not available. If space is unavailable, animals are transported to partnering NKUT shelters that can accommodate them.

Best Friends encourages the type of community involvement, like that of Filla, to help spread the word about NKUT.

To successfully achieve NKUT by 2019, Utah must have a “combined save rate of 90 percent” in all animal shelters.

In other words, 90 percent of animals that enter shelters must leave alive. The remaining 10 percent takes into consideration natural deaths and terminal illnesses of animals.

Deb Parker, a previous volunteer who now works full time at Best Friends, moved from upstate New York to join the community and support the work of Best Friend’s sanctuary.

In an interview, Parker said, “In fiscal year 2017, we had an 87 percent save rate in the entire state of Utah, had close to 2,000 adoptions and did over 37,000 spays and neuters in the state alone.”

Parker added, “Yes, we are on track for both No-Kill Utah 2019 and No Kill 2025. Spread the word, the more people helping to achieve this, the better.” Best Friends plans to make all U.S. cities no-kill by 2025.

The NKUT initiative began after the originators of Best Friends found themselves disturbed by the staggering statistic of cats and dogs killed yearly.

In 2000, “nearly 38,000 healthy and adoptable animals were being killed in Utah every year,” reported Best Friends in an online news release. 

That’s when NKUT was initiated. It was an aggressive attempt to reduce the rising yearly deaths among sheltered cats and dogs.

As of 2017, the number is down to roughly 2,400. Nearly half a million dogs and cats have been saved from 2000 to 2017.

Best Friend’s aspirations have been manifested by its work within Utah. Resources are available so Utah communities have the ability to promote NKUT and make the campaign a success by 2019.

Best Friends offers legislative empowerment to those who wish to take action through lobbying elected officials. Reaching out to elected officials is an efficient way to take action on pertinent bills regarding Best Friends and animal welfare.

Advocacy enables people to speak directly with lawmakers and become a voice for animals that have no representation. You can sign up online to join the legislative action network, receive emails, and connect with other Utahns. 

Fighting breed-discrimination is another initiative of Best Friends that educates the public about breeds that are viewed as aggressive. Unfortunately, the media has given negative attention to pit bull terriers and other alike breeds because of their reputation in illegal dogfighting and aggressive behavior.

Eliminating breed-discrimination practices reduces the amount of dogs entering shelters that would be brought in from public enforcement and animal control groups.

BSL, which stands for breed-specific legislation, is a body of laws that aims to regulate breeds or dogs who resemble certain breeds, that are potentially dangerous. On Best Friend’s website, it said, “breed discriminatory legislation force many people to give up their beloved pets.” After such force, dogs are put into animal shelters and not adopted. 

Best Friends refers to BSL as a “misconception” and usually enacted “to ease fears over public safety, but these laws are ineffective and very costly.” 

In Utah, House Bill 97, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, “protects pet owner property rights and allows responsible citizens to own any breed of dog they choose.” House Bill 97 was effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Events are held annually in Utah to offer community members the chance to get involved and show support for NKUT. Strut Your Mutt, NKUT Super Adoption, and training workshops and classes are happenings that occur throughout the year. 

Best Friends provides spaying and neutering as another resource to reach NKUT. All animals admitted to shelters have the procedure. This procedure is routinely done and requires minimal downtime for pets. Low cost and potentially free spays or neuters are offered to community members’ pets too, courtesy of Best Friends

Best Friends reports, spaying and neutering, “is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your pet, your family and your community” because it reduces the number of animals that initially enter shelters.

NKUT reported services will be provided “where they are needed most so that fewer animals go into shelters, and increase adoptions so that more animals are placed into new homes.” 

NKUT strives to ensure that all sheltered animals are given the gift of life. Communities in Utah are being called to action.

Now is the time to spread the word and “Save Them All.”

Two single moms open medical spa in Salt Lake City

Story and gallery by ASHLEIGH ZAELIT

Devynne Toote wakes up in the morning and takes her 3-year-old daughter Grei to her mother’s house. She grabs her morning coffee, and gets ready for work. When Devynne gets off around 7 p.m. she picks up her daughter to go home and make dinner together. She gives Grei a bath, they read a bedtime story, and then it’s time for bed.

Toote referred to her life as “work and mom.”

Yet Toote, who is a single mom, doesn’t mind this exhausting schedule because she is turning her dreams of owning a medical spa into a reality. She owns Bye Bye Med Spa with friend Kaeci Durfey, who is also a single mother.

Toote met Durfey seven years ago at the Mandalyn Academy, the beauty school they both attended. They became best friends and moved in together.

“We had always wanted to open up a med spa, it was our dream,” Toote said.

After school Toote started doing eyelash extensions. She later started training where she taught students the ins and outs of lash extensions, and even started her own lash company.

Toote was 20 years old when she got pregnant with Grei, and has been working to show her daughter that she can do anything.

“I just want to be a great example for my daughter,” Toote said. “Being a single mom and working full time is not easy but it’s fulfilling at the end of the day when you start accomplishing things. We don’t have time to waste. It’s hard to do alone but both my parents have helped me along the way. What makes the biggest difference is having a support system.”

She said it can be very difficult to balance the need to work to earn a living with the desire to spend time with her daughter.

Toote said it can be daunting to be a single parent and entrepreneur. But she advised other women, “Don’t let the fear of it all stop you. As long as you’re working hard and remember who it’s for, it will all be worth it.”

Kaeci Durfey is a medical esthetician. A medical esthetician specializes in advanced skin care treatments to develop and maintain healthy, beautiful skin.

Durfey provides the service of microneedling. This is a treatment that improves the look of scars, fine lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, and minimizes pores.

She starts the microneedling treatment by cleansing the face. Then she uses a device that stimulates the production of collagen, uses different kinds of light therapy, and removes impurities. Next she applies a topical numbing cream on the face followed by going over the face with a microneedling tool.

Both Durfey and Toote loved their jobs, but they wanted to expand. Opening Bye Bye Med Spa was the first step in their 20-year plan.

Bye Bye Med Spa is located at 4698 S. Highland Drive in Millcreek. Services include Injections like Botox, microdermabrasion to lighten and tighten the skin, eyelash extensions, microblading, waxing, airbrush spray tanning, and even weight loss programs. The spa also gives clients a great selection of everyday skin care as well as supplements.

Toote and Durfey would love to help others accomplish their goals and are leasing out rooms to anyone, even those who aren’t estheticians. Rent starts at $650 a month and includes social media marketing, business financial services, and web design.

Kendall Robbs is a 21-year-old single mom who rents out a room at Bye Bye Med Spa. She provides facial waxing and eyebrow tinting, and she specializes in microblading.

Microblading is a type of permanent makeup applied to your eyebrow. Robbs uses a special blade to tattoo individual hair strokes giving a fuller, natural looking brow.

Kendall moved from Salt Lake City to Orem two years ago for an internship where she learned microblading. She decided to move to Bye Bye Med Spa because the location would better accommodate her clients.

“The location is great, and everyone offers something different vs. other places where everybody just does one thing. Since there are individual rooms each client gets a more comfortable experience,” Robbs said.

Robbs related with Toote and Durfey, saying, “They are young single moms trying to build a career and I just really connected with them being a single mom as well. We just get each other.”

Toote and Durfey have a lot of plans for Bye Bye Med Spa, including offering cool sculpting. Cool sculpting is a device that dissolves fat cells in the area of choice.

They just recently got a laser to provide skin-resurfacing, laser hair removal, and tattoo removal for their clients. Kybella was also recently added, which is an injection that completely paralyzes fat. They would like to partner with a plastic surgeon in the future.

Bye Bye Med Spa is planning a grand opening this upcoming summer but anyone is currently welcome to set up an appointment for a skin care treatment, eyelash extensions, microblading, or spray tanning session.

The confidence of their customers is their top priority. All women and men are welcome, regardless of their color, shape, or size.


The University of Utah brings benefits to local students through Piano Outreach Program

Story and gallery by KATYA WAGSTAFF

When school ends, many kids race out as fast as they can. But others stay to play music written hundreds of years ago. While they wait, some are doing cartwheels or chatting with other students about book fair and recess. Some eat a snack or run around the room. All are waiting for piano lessons.

Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students studying piano at the University of Utah School of Music extend group piano lessons to five local elementary schools through the Piano Outreach Program. Three of the schools are Title I, which means that a large percentage of students come from low-income families. Students at these schools participate in the Piano Outreach Program for free.

According to the program’s website, “The program not only helps them learn a life-long skill, but also seeks to improve their performance in core academic subjects, like math and reading, and to prevent behavior and truancy problems.”

The program’s website further states that the program benefits School of Music piano majors by providing teaching opportunities and the chance to “learn valuable life lessons through service, preparing them for future careers.”

Mio Cowden, coordinator of the Piano Outreach Program, has a short break between private piano lesson instruction. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance and music history. She teaches at Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah Preparatory Division, and the Piano Outreach Program.

Her piano studio is a small, insulated room holding two sleek, black baby grand pianos side by side. In the corner is a small desk covered with music files. She relaxes on a piano bench with her back leaning against the wall.

Cowden’s role as coordinator entails training graduate student assistants, organizing fundraising and donations, scheduling assignments, observing each school once a month to check students’ progress, contacting principals and answering parents’ questions. “Basically I do a lot of stuff,” she said, laughing.

The program currently teaches approximately 200 students in five schools. These piano lessons expose elementary-aged students to the “joy of music,” Cowden said.

“There are so many kids, not just at Title I schools, who have never had the opportunity to learn piano,” she said.

“When a child walks into my classroom, the circumstances under which they live don’t really matter. That’s what I love about music, it is universal to anyone, no matter their situation. If anything, these children in tough circumstances are more grateful for an opportunity to do something new.”

– Claire Thueson, graduate instructor at Washington Elementary


When students begin piano lessons “they find another talent that they didn’t know they had and they get so excited,” she said.

Cowden explained that not only kids, but their parents also get excited. For example, a father told Cowden about his daughter, a third-grader from Afghanistan who attended one of the Piano Outreach Program elementary schools. Her older brother participated in the piano classes. She wanted to participate, too. However, in her family’s culture and religion, girls don’t learn to play instruments.

This girl still wanted to learn and asked her dad, “Why did you come to America?”

He responded, “To give you more opportunities.”

“Then give me the opportunity to learn the piano!” she cried.

“Let me think about it,” her dad replied.

The next day he decided his daughter was right and gave her permission to attend piano classes after school.

She was very dedicated, Cowden said, and learned Mozart’s “Turkish March” in just one year.

Cowden turns to the piano and plays the first few seconds of the fast-paced piece. This piece is generally for intermediate, not beginner students.

The young girl played this piece at the final concert, held at the School of Music’s Thompson Chamber Hall. Her parents and siblings attended the performance and were thrilled. Her dad realized that girls should also learn what they want to.

Shortly after, her dad called Cowden and relayed their story. He added that after the concert, he bought his daughter a keyboard as a present.

“I’m glad I got her a keyboard,” he says, “but I almost regret it because she’s unstoppable. She practices from morning to night!”

Her brother dropped out of the program, but she never misses a class.

“I’m not trying to change anyone’s culture,” Cowden adds, “because it’s really up to them. But it’s very exciting to see a girl take this opportunity and find a new talent.”

Claire Thueson is a doctoral student who also is currently a graduate instructor at Washington Elementary, a local Title I school.

She spends about 12 hours every week preparing for and teaching 24 students at the elementary school.

“I have students of all ages and backgrounds that come to piano class, anywhere from first-graders to sixth-graders,” Thueson said via email.

The kids are split into groups: one plays musical games or worksheets with an undergraduate assistant, while the other group practices on the keyboards for their recital. Thueson rotates the groups, “giving assistance and offering encouragement and correction when needed.”

Similar to Cowden, Thueson believes some of the strengths of the program are that it is  “able to offer exposure to music to a large number of children that otherwise may not get the opportunity.”

Some of the challenges she faces include making sure each child is getting “personalized education and attention,” despite their various ages and abilities.

Although she teaches at a Title I school with a high percentage of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, Thueson said, “I honestly don’t notice a huge amount of difference. When a child walks into my classroom, the circumstances under which they live don’t really matter. That’s what I love about music, it is universal to anyone, no matter their situation. If anything, these children in tough circumstances are more grateful for an opportunity to do something new.”

Another graduate instructor, Cheney Doane, teaches at Uintah Elementary. This school does not have Title I status, so the class is fee-based, though group class tuition is cheaper than private piano lessons.

His classes also include a range of students from first to fourth grade. Although it’s a challenge to keep them engaged despite different levels, Doane also considers the age range a benefit.

“It’s an asset to have this group of students together because they can learn from each other.”

Not all of these kids will continue studying music, but that’s OK, Doane said. If they want to continue, the Piano Outreach Program provides a “stable foundation” in music. If they don’t, it’s still a “positive, brain-healthy way to spend time after school.”

Doane wants his students to have fun and look forward to this class.

“I want their association with music to be positive, not filled with dread,” he said.

Doane’s most rewarding moments are at the end of lessons when parents come to pick up their children. A student will run up and say, “Mom or Dad, come listen to this piece that I can play!”

The Piano Outreach Program takes a lot of commitment and time. “There are days when you walk in thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this today,’” Doane said, “and you walk out thinking, ‘Man, I’m really glad I had Outreach today.’”



Katya Wagstaff



I love the performing arts and community outreach. The benefits of being involved in the performing arts (including developing confidence, talent and creativity) shouldn’t be restricted only to individuals in higher socioeconomic classes with lots of discretionary income. Everyone should have opportunities, especially children.

My roommate is a piano performance major and during our freshman year, she was a volunteer in the Piano Outreach Program. I didn’t know a lot about it, but it sounded interesting. Fast forward to last semester when I was heavily involved in researching how to overcome socioeconomic boundaries in extracurricular arts programs. One night I was in a rut with my research, so I talked through it with this same roommate. She reminded me of the Piano Outreach Program.

It ended up not fitting in my research project that semester, but I was determined to learn more about it.

At the beginning of this semester, Professor Mangun asked each of us to think about a topic to explore for our enterprise story. I immediately thought about the Piano Outreach Program. I finally get to learn more about it!

One of my sources, Mio Cowden, the coordinator of the Piano Outreach Program, has been a tremendous help. She is very passionate about the program and its effect on students. Although she is very busy with administrative and teaching duties, she took time to answer all my emails and meet in person to chat. She has also been the key to finding other sources willing to share their experiences and insights as teachers in the program.

Another benefit of meeting Mio was getting to practice my Japanese again! She was born in Japan and I lived there for a while, but don’t get many chances to speak anymore. Part of the interview was Japanese (especially when she got excited) and the rest in English. Though all of the quotes in the story are her words, not a translation.

While thinking about a focus for this story, I was interested in how the Piano Outreach Program helps refugees and other lower socioeconomic class students. However, when talking to my sources, I heard a unified message: Who cares about their background? Music unites students because during this time, labels fall away and they are just children learning music.

headshot ABOUT ME:

 Musical theater holds my heart.

I grew up singing, dancing, acting and keeping my sights set on Broadway. Along the way, I loved thinking and writing about shows. At the University of Utah, I started as a musical theater major, then made my way to the Department of Communication because I love strategizing and writing. I now major in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication and a minor in theater.

In a world where the arts can make a significant impact but get rampantly cut from budgets, I want to persuade decision-makers to understand the importance of arts and make opportunities available to everyone, particularly young students, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Someday I dream of being a marketing/communications director for a fine arts organization, preferably a theater company!

Morgan Stewart



With the society that we live in it is becoming more and more common to compare ourselves to others. Media in all forms are extremely present in society even for young children. My entire life I have struggled with self-image and low self-esteem as many others have too. But what is different now than when I was a child is the easy access to social media, a platform designed specifically to show other people what you want them to see about your life.

Recently while scrolling through Instagram I came across a profile of someone who was discussing the harmful effects of social media. The profile described the connection between social media and comparison, depression and even increased suicide rates. This was terrifying to me. I know that when I get on social media it is easy to feel all of those effects and emotions but I have been able to turn it off and forget about it. However, others are not.

Originally this is the story I wanted to tell. The damaging effects of social media and how it is affecting us as adults and our youth. How easy these platforms make it for us to compare our lives, beauty and worth to others. This was until I learned of the Kite sisters. Lindsay and Lexie Kite are graduates of the University of Utah and creators of the nonprofit Beauty Redefined.

These women are some of the most knowledgeable women I have learned about. And they have created a message that should be shared with all young girls and adults around the world. The women portray everything that it means to be strong, healthy and beautiful from the inside out. Instead of discussing the damage that can come from social media these women discuss the importance of positive body image and how we can learn to deal with the harmful ideologies portrayed in the media. The identical twins travel the world teaching women how to redefine what beauty means and that our looks do not define us.

IMG-3927.JPGThis is now the story that I want to share. The story of these two incredible sisters who have an even more incredible message to share with the world about the importance of body image positivity.


I am currently a strategic communication major at the University of Utah and will be graduating in the spring of 2019. Currently I run my own business as a hair stylist, which allows me to show my creativity while forming relationships with each client who sits in my chair. But what I love most about my job is the ability it gives me to make others feel confident about themselves.

Keaton Shirk




Contemplation leaves my mind a little confused given too much time. I felt I had so many topics to write about that choosing just one felt impossible. OK, maybe not impossible, but certainly difficult.

Actually, I didn’t even come up with the idea to write about Best Friends Animal Society. Any guess as to who did? Well, just like a lot of other decisions in my life, my parents suggested the topic.

Every initial idea I had seemed great, but I couldn’t find enough information to highlight that would make a story interesting. It was one of those necessary breakups with my ideas that ended in a, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Luckily there weren’t too many hearts broken.

It wasn’t the people or businesses involved in my potential stories, but it was me. I couldn’t seem to create ideas that deserved at least 850 words. My professor, Kimberley Mangun, told the class our first ideas were probably not going to be what we ended up writing about. I didn’t think much of this. I thought my ideas were great.

What I thought then is different than what I think now. I feel more humble about my approach to writing, like story ideas that present themselves in subtle ways are the ones that are worth further exploration.

After the mention of Best Friends from my mother, my first thought was, “Wow! I can go on a trip to Kanab and spend all day with dogs!” That didn’t seem like a bad idea at all.

I admit the idea of visiting 1,700 animals was persuasive, but all throughout my life I have volunteered with animal organizations and grown up in a family that raised what we called “muts” from the pound; otherwise known as rescue dogs from animal shelters. The topic was one I related to and felt compassion for.

To clarify, I wasn’t the “mut” nor was I from the pound, but ask a family member and they might say vice versa.

I began my story as any millennial might do. I went straight to social media. I made a post on Facebook in the Best Friends volunteer Facebook group.

My post gained a lot of interest. Employees and volunteers reached out to offer any help they could with my story.

I was shocked. I was pleased. And I was ready to start writing.

I direct messaged the individuals on Facebook who I was interested in interviewing. We exchanged our schedules and then coordinated a time to meet while I was volunteering at the Best Friend’s sanctuary.

I was inspired by everyone I talked to. I learned a lot of interesting facts as well. One woman I met began volunteering at Best Friends after she watched a TV show called “Dogtown,” which was filmed at the sanctuary in Kanab. She’s also from Wisconsin and has been volunteering for eight years now. She flies to Kanab three times a year.

I managed to interview her on one out of three times she will be in Kanab this year. You could say it wasn’t mere luck, but destiny. 

I knew No-Kill Utah was a significant movement, but I was unaware of the resources available for community members to become involved.

NKUT was my focus for a couple reasons. One being that Best Friends hopes to reach no-kill status by 2019, so proximity of time worked out great for me. Another reason being the work of Best Friends, made possible by employees and volunteers, in my opinion deserved recognition.

During my researching process, I was completely overwhelmed by the information available to me. I couldn’t find a starting point. There was so much to be written about and after my first rough draft I felt I had brain dumped a lot of information into a Word document that wasn’t cohesive.

It look a lot of editing before I was pleased with my work. Most importantly, I wanted Best Friends to be pleased by my work.

I had a rewarding experience writing about Best Friends. Writing profiles as I did showed me that journalism can be symbiotic for both the writer and the subject.

It’s personal experiences like this that make all efforts seem beneficial to my success as a professional and individual.


Keaton Shirk grew up in Dallas, Texas, until moving away to attend Santa Barbara Community College in Santa Barbara, California, after she graduated high school. While taking in the sunshine and sea breeze, she took courses to complete her associate degree and decide what career she found herself most passionate about.

In her free time, she volunteered at the Santa Barbara Food Bank, where she gleaned fruits from community members’ trees. The gleaned fruit was then distributed to fellow community members who relied on the support of the food bank. It was an uplifting experience for her. Many of the people she volunteered with are still great friends to her now.

After completing her general academic requirements in Santa Barbara, Keaton transferred to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Before officially transferring, she did not go to school for one semester. She did this so she could spend time exploring Utah.

Everywhere Keaton travels she seeks out businesses and nonprofit organizations that are helping local communities. She enjoys supporting those that strive to support others on a daily basis. This passion led her to eventually becoming a board member for the Sugar House Farmer’s Market. She assisted with social media and website management.

Once university classes started, Keaton began exploring the resources offered at the U. She found the opportunity to take an internship position in Barcelona, Spain. The internship taught Keaton valuable skills that are only acquired in real-life experience. Keaton wrote for the company’s blog and enjoyed building a portfolio with creative content inspired by her life in Spain. Due to the exposure Keaton received working at a touristic company, she found an interest in the travel industry.

Since Keaton has returned to Utah, she values the knowledge she gained from her internship and is therefore exploring other internship opportunities in Utah and abroad. Currently, Keaton is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in parks, recreation and tourism with an emphasis in sustainable tourism. Keaton hopes to graduate the U by 2020 and find a career that combines her appreciation for communication and tourism.

For the love of books

Story and gallery by KATHERINE ROGERS

The tinkle of a bell, the smell of paper, the sight of colorful covers on the shelves, a friendly face greeting you from behind a counter. Nothing is quite like the feeling of an independent bookstore.

The local bookstore is a unique place. Each of the following bookstores brings something different to the community. All of them create a place for lovers of literature of all kinds to find their people.

The King’s English Bookshop, located at 1511 S. 1500 East, opened in 1977 by Betsy Burton. For the last 41 years it has been a favorite of many Salt Lake City locals.

General Manager Anne Holman explained what has kept the store around all this time. It is the community. The store provides a safe place where readers can connect and discover new literature.

Customers of all ages and backgrounds frequent the King’s English. In fact, Holman said there is no typical patron. “I don’t think readers are ‘average,’” she said.

The King’s English provides more than just books. The store holds all sorts of events. Once a week there is a story time in the children’s section. There were launch parties when the “Harry Potter” series was being released. The tickets for that event went very quickly.

Holman also talked about the authors who have been invited to the store, such as Stephen King and Diana Gabaldon, author of the “Outlander” series. Sometimes these writers have in-store book signings or give talks off-site. The goal of these events is to bring literature to the community.

Holman does worry about online book dealers like Amazon. Not only do these dealers take money away from the community, but they don’t provide the same experience as the bookstore.

One of the best parts of a local bookstore is when you can sense the seller’s passion for what he/she does. This feeling is obvious when you walk into Dark Soldier Comics, found at 8521 S. State St.

Sinai Valero, inspired by her love of comics, opened Dark Soldier Comics with her family in 2014.

At the time Valero was still a junior at Bingham High School. She had fallen in love with comics a few years before, after discovering the “Spawn” series.

After deciding to open the store, Valero wanted to make sure she knew what she was doing. So, she spent a long time doing research on the business. She even trained for three days at a comic bookstore in Las Vegas.

As a result, Dark Soldier is still open while other comic bookstores in the Salt Lake Valley have been closing. Valero credits this to staying on top of the comic trends.

The store sells everything from DC Comics to anime merchandise. At Dark Soldier you can buy single issue comics or a tradeback, a compilation of single issues, if you fall behind on your single issues. Plus, you get a chance to talk comics with Valero, someone who knows and cares a lot about them.

Dark Soldier Comics often has booths at conventions. Anime Banzai is one of Valero’s favorite events. Her booth is among the few that focus on comics, so hers stands out in the crowd.

The internet provides a problem for local comic bookstores. Downloadable comics take away the need to purchase the latest issue at the store. However, those downloads aren’t as friendly as Dark Soldier.

If you’re looking for something more unique, you should check out Ken Sanders Rare Books  268 S. 200 East.

The owner, Ken Sanders, has had many roles before he became an antiquity literary dealer in 1997. These roles have included a “cowboy printer,” a comic book geek, and a radical environmentalist. Each of these roles helped create the matchless atmosphere of the store.

Like King’s English there is no average customer at Ken Sanders Rare Books. Instead the customers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. From the serious literary collector, to young children, who get to pick a free kids’ book, they all enjoy getting lost in the store’s maze of shelves.

Many bookstores have a specific genre that sells better than others. In Ken Sanders’ store the thing that sells best is whatever he and his sellers are most passionate about.

And they are passionate about their books. Sanders often says that he loves “books like Scrooge McDuck loves money.” He has even sold some of his favorite books just by reading an excerpt to a customer.

Ken Sanders Rare Books hosts all sorts of events. It has had readings from authors like Edward Abbey, author of “Desert Solitaire” and “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” and Charles Bowden, author of “Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family.” The store even puts on concerts for indie musicians.

Sanders loves these events. He says they feel like a success, not if they make a lot of money, but when they are well attended and well liked. They are successful when they start discussions.

Like other bookstores, Sanders’ biggest concern right now is online book shopping. But one of the best parts of a bookstore, Sanders says, is that you learn about amazing books you never would have heard of anywhere else — books like “Leavings,” a collection of poems by Wendell Berry.

Despite the threat of online shopping, bookshops are likely here to stay. Each of the booksellers pointed out that online shopping does not provide the same feeling independent bookstores do. As Ken Sanders said, “Finding something you didn’t know you were looking for, that’s the serendipity of the bookshop.”


Katherine Rogers


MY BLOG:biopic

I have always been a reader. Even before I could read I would beg my parents to read everything to me. Naturally, when I learned that I would need to write a story my thoughts leapt to books.

My thoughts also went to my friend Sinai Valero. I’ve known Valero since elementary school. In that time, I have managed to interview her for almost every project like this that I have had.

Since Valero owns a comic bookstore and is my favorite interviewee of past projects, I started to formulate a plan to write a feature on local bookstores.

Finding resources for my story was much easier than I expected.

Getting hold of Valero was no problem, seeing as we have been friends for so long. I got in contact with Anne Holman and Ken Sanders through family. My uncle has worked with both of them. He was kind enough to put me in touch with them.

These people were perfect for my story. Since each of them run a local bookstore, they know a lot about the industry.

Making sense of my information wasn’t hard. Each of my interviewees talked a lot about the communities surrounding his/her store and the threat of online shopping. So, when I sat down to go through my notes the focus was obvious.

The actual writing was harder. The most difficult part of writing was getting started. There were many times when I sat down in front of my laptop, opened a Word document, and then immediately shut down my laptop. But eventually I told myself that I needed to get something done. So, I wrote an outline. Seeing my story laid out made it feel much more doable. Suddenly, the writing came easily.

What surprised me about this whole experience is how much I enjoyed interviewing. As I mentioned, I have already done a few interviews, but it was only with friends. The idea of interviewing strangers was daunting. But I loved it. I’m excited to see where this newfound love of interviewing will take me.


I am a communications major at the University of Utah. My intention is to graduate in the spring of 2020 with an emphasis in journalism. I grew up around the news, spending my childhood as a “backseat listener” of NPR. I’ve always been fascinated by world events and politics. As a result, I have grown to love hearing and telling others’ stories.

Journalism wasn’t my first choice for a career. Along with an interest in news and politics, I also have a fascination with plants and animals. My plan was to go into biology. However, I quickly discovered this was not what I needed to be doing. After some introspection, I realized that writing is more suited to my talents.

I look forward to getting further into the journalism field and to learning more about what is going on in my world.

Elizabeth Nygaard



When thinking of what to write about for my story, I had many ideas in my mind. I thought about writing on service dogs, cheap airline flights and local coffee shops.

One idea stuck out though, dessert.

I am in love with dessert; it is my favorite meal of the day. Ever since I could eat sweets, I was a dessert girl!

I knew I wanted my story to be fun — there is nothing about a dessert that’s not fun! I didn’t want to write about anything serious or of a hot topic because that’s just not me.

I wrote my story on three local dessert shops in Salt Lake City. I wanted to focus on different styles of dessert. Ranging from edible cookie dough, incredible ice cream, and gourmet desserts I hit all the dessert bases.

It was hard to pick only three dessert shops; I had people giving me recommendations left and right.

I thought it was so interesting how relatable dessert is and how no one talks about it. It is always an afterthought. Maybe that’s why dessert comes after dinners. If you want me to be honest though, dessert comes before dinner for me.

To begin my story I had to hit up the dessert spots and get the best desserts

To no one’s surprise my boyfriend was ecstatic to get out and try all the desserts in Salt Lake. My original plan was to go to one shop every weekend, but we ended up going every night. It was just too much fun trying different sweets!

The first shop we went to was Dough Co. For a Tuesday night this place was insanely busy. We got delicious cookie dough recommended by the employees and talked to this awesome family who was out for family night.

This family gave me another excuse to go out for dessert! Family time!

On Wednesday night we went to Last Course in Salt Lake City. Last Course is the reason I wanted to write about dessert. This place takes dessert to the next level.

Last Course offers ice cream and gourmet treats. The workers push newcomers to taste test all the ice cream options.

We ended up with two desserts and two ice cream scoops. For two people this was more than enough dessert. We chose the Glaming S’mores and the Upside Down Caramel Apple Pie based on a recommendation of the employees.

For our last and final dessert stop we hit up Normal Ice Cream. This is a food truck but is in Trolley Square for the winter.

It features a good deal of diverse ice cream options. After reading through the menu we ended up getting the signature White Out and London Fog ice cream cones.

These aren’t like normal ice cream cones. The only word I can think of to explain these cones is: beautiful.

Going through this experience of having dessert every night for a week was amazing. I would recommend anyone to do it. I loved all the different options available in Salt Lake City.

Dessert should be everyone’s favorite meal of the day. Dessert makes everyone happy and everyone deserves to be happy!


Growing up I never knew what I wanted to do. My friends wanted to be firefighters, veterinarians and doctors. I still had no idea what I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by marketing. My dad’s been working with the same company since I was born. I’ve been surrounded by catch phrases and commercials.

Throughout high school I was interesting in psychology and how people work. Going into college psychology was going to be my specialty, and I was excited. Like many other college students I took my first biology class and figured out science wasn’t my thing. To be successful in psychology, it is recommended to head for a pre-med route. I knew I couldn’t do that since science and math just aren’t my thing. My second idea was to head to business school and go into marketing. When I talked to advisors they recommended strategic communication, because this would let me be creative but still work for a marketing company. I am currently a sophomore and starting my major. I am so happy to be starting what I want to do.

On top of studying and working I’ve been training service dogs for military veterans. This has to be the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my lifetime. Working with veterans and seeing first hand how my efforts can change someone’s life is amazing.


Eric Jerome



As a member of the climbing team, the idea to highlight the team and its success seemed very appealing. I chose a variety of sources, the first, Danny Popowski, was an easy choice as he had started the team himself a few years ago. His perspective seemed invaluable to the story, and his comments really communicated to the reader how successful the team has been.

For my other sources, Monica Barnes and Sam Enright, I wanted to highlight that the team is made up of both seasoned climbers as well as newer, less experienced climbers. Barnes, having only recently begun climbing, provided us with a fresh and genuine perspective. Enright was able to provide readers the perspective of a very accomplished, goal-oriented climber.

During the course of writing this story I was pleased to not be met with many obstacles. My interviews went smoothly and my sources were very helpful. I gathered quite a bit of information from my interviews, but I wanted to keep my focus on the experience level of the climbers, how the team has helped them, and how they are preparing for nationals.

rookieThe actual act of writing this story was pretty easy for me. I simply decided on what kind of lead I wanted, what tone I wanted to set, and how I wanted to portray my sources. I really enjoyed this story and I hope the audience is captivated by my narrative and intrigued by the climbing team and storytelling.


Eric Jerome is a student at the University of Utah studying strategic communication. Born in Finksburg, Maryland, Eric only recently moved to Utah to pursue his love of rock climbing. Aside from climbing, Eric also enjoys making art and eating copious amounts of food.

University of Utah fraternity partners with Rape Recovery Center

Story and slideshow by MADDY HOWARD

Don’t walk to your car alone. Don’t go on a run without pepper spray. Don’t make eye contact too long. Don’t dress like you’re asking for it.

All of these are “rules” young people have been told in hope of avoiding sexual assault.

Sexual assault is an epidemic that has affected campuses nationwide. Universities such as Stanford, Brown and Baylor all have an extensive history of sexual assault on campus. Many people do not believe universities are doing enough to keep students safe.

Well, what if someone told you a fraternity was speaking out against sexual assault?

At the University of Utah, Beta Theta Pi is dedicated to making a change. Beta is a fraternity which brands itself as men of principle.

These men excel in academics with an overall average GPA of 3.4. Additionally, they have the highest GPA out of any organization, club, or team at the University of Utah, according to the office of the Dean of Students. “These men hold themselves to the highest standard possible which makes them one of the most respected fraternities on campus,” said Josie Karren, a U student and Delta Gamma member.

Beta is partnered with the Rape Recovery Center in hopes of changing sexual assault not only at the U, but across the nation.

The Rape Recovery Center is a nonprofit organization in Salt Lake City. Services include support, testing and providing hope for victims from every walk of life. RRC helps people understand they are not alone, and understand that their attack does not define them.

Beta has been working with RRC for almost five years. Stereotypes tell the world fraternity men are part of the problem and are nothing but partiers. In 2014, the U’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi was featured on the Dr. Phil show. Phil McGraw’s wife, Robin McGraw, was in awe of what these men are trying to accomplish.

Philanthropy Week is full of fundraising for the RRC and happens every fall and spring. For Beta members, it’s a time to raise money for victims. Taking place from Feb. 26-March 3, spring 2018 Philanthropy Week was a huge success, according to Noah Carr. He is the current vice president of internal programming. His duties include planning events throughout the week. Many of these events take place at the recently renovated $2.3 million chapter house.

Beta planned fun events that brought all of Greek row, and even some non-Greeks out to support. From designing hoodies to creating pop sockets as a unique way to raise money, Carr was dedicated to finding ways to raise money.

“Handling the Philanthropy Week for Beta was an unbelievable and humbling experience. Working so close with the RRC and proactively doing things for the community is what makes all the work worth it. We raised $14,000 for this great organization in less than six days and it’s an awesome feeling to know you’re making a difference,” Carr said.

In addition to raising funds for RRC, many of the fraternity members spend time volunteering. Many of these men help however they can at the RRC in their free time.

Volunteering requires 40 hours of extensive training. Many Betas are hotline counselors. This means they act as an over-the-phone counselor to victims. These volunteers have saved lives by talking to victims.

“I started picking up shifts every week. I like the idea that I am there if someone needs me,” Ravi Sharma said in a recent recruitment video. Sharma has been a member of Beta for two years and is passionate about the partnership with the RRC.

On campus, Beta started organizing sexual assault forums once every semester. These are open discussions about sexual assault that are open to anybody. The forums are designed to be a relaxed environment to talk about intense subjects.

Members of Beta Theta Pi believe men need to do more to stand up against sexual violence. During an interview, there was a clear theme. They want victims to know they are not alone. These men want to speak out on an issue that has been swept under the rug for far too long.

Anthony Panuzio, 20, the current president of Beta, said the partnership with RRC is a main reason why he even chose Beta in the first place.

“I am honored to represent a group of men that are dedicated to change. Sexual violence is something many people just don’t want to talk about. Talking about it is the only way we are going to make a difference. It makes me proud that Beta’s aren’t afraid to be the ones who speak out,” Panuzio said.

In America, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. One in three women and one in five men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, according to RAINN.

It is time for serious change.

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by sexual assault. In a recent video Beta Theta Pi released, John Moffitt, vice president of recruitment for Beta at the U, says, “The slogan we came up with is: to the brave survivors of sexual assault we believe you.”

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Maddy Howard


MY BLOG: bio photo revised

Finding a topic for my enterprise story was exciting for me. I knew I wanted to choose a topic that would bring positivity to a world that sometimes seems dark. Beta Theta Pi’s relationship with the Rape Recovery Center was a story I felt needed to be told. The Beta members show that there are still many great people in the world wanting change. I located sources through some of my fellow Greek community members. I wanted to make sure I focused on how driven these men are. Therefore, I chose to interview sources who were putting the most effort into these events. They were the best sources for me because they were able to tell me their vision and motivation for why they work so hard with the RRC.

During my interviews, I never ran into any moral dilemmas because sexual assault is something everybody can relate to. This helped me choose my focus. I chose to focus strictly on Beta’s relationship with the RRC and the fundraising efforts. Writing this story was extremely humbling. I have watched young adults take a lot of backlash lately. Society believes all young people are careless and selfish. Writing about men my age who are out there making a huge difference is so amazing. I am so glad that I chose to highlight the men of Beta. I truly believe these men have started a movement that can change campuses across the country. It was a privilege to get to know the members of Beta Theta Pi. They pride themselves on being “men of principle” and it shows.


I am a 21-year-old junior at the University of Utah. After debating between marketing and communication, I decided to major in strategic communication. I have always been very outgoing and personable. I love expressing myself in anyway I can.

Some of my hobbies include tennis, golf and traveling. I am passionate about seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. My favorite place I have been so far is Costa Rica. I am constantly striving to explore opportunities and to grow as an individual.

Writing has always been something I have been interested in. It allows me to say how I am feeling in a creative way. I love being able to write about issues that are often misunderstood. In the future, I hope to find a career that allows me to be creative while also letting me meet new people.

Spencer Gray



For my enterprise story, I went through an entire process to develop an idea that would draw my audience in from the very start.


In the beginning, I started thinking too big. I wanted to do interviews with people I’d have no way of getting in contact with. So, I really had to narrow down my thoughts on something more obtainable.

For my story, my sources were very easy to obtain. The Village Baker is a family company, with my uncle being the CEO. For my other sources, I interviewed the managers of both the original location and a new location. My cousin was one of the managers so it was also easy to contact him.

They provided very good insight into what happens behind closed doors. Especially for my uncle, it was easy to see how things worked before they finally franchised the stores because he is the original owner. The manager of the Salt Lake store has also been with the company for years so he has also seen the growth before and after.

My focus was unclear at the beginning, so I started with the interview questions. When I started to develop these questions, I could see a direction that my story could head. I thought it would be fascinating to shed light on how the Village Baker has grown over 25 years running.

While I was writing, I would think back to documentaries I’ve watched or other profile pieces I’ve written, and tried to mimic that style of organization and professionalism. It made my process clear and easy to write after finishing an outline that organized my thoughts.

I want to know more about the Village Baker’s past before they opened. I know that my uncle had a partner who helped start this with him, but he eventually left. I want to know more about him and why he left.

I was surprised by how easy it was to get motivated by a story. Most writing I’ve done in college has always been dry and boring. But my enterprise story was one of the most exciting stories I’ve written.


Spencer Gray, a student at the University of Utah, is heading into his junior year studying strategic communication. His passion for writing has branched to multiple sources including film and directing. Gray hopes to hold a creative team-oriented position after he is graduated from the U in 2020.

Medical marijuana versus the opioid epidemic in Utah

Story and gallery by CHANDLEY CHYNOWETH

Utah has the seventh highest drug overdose rate in the United States. Six people in Utah die every day from opioid overdoses, according to Opidemic. Taking opioids prescribed from a doctor can be harmful and cause addiction. It’s important that people are informed about this issue in order to prevent it from happening.

According to Opidemic, opioids release chemicals in the brain that stop the perception of pain. The brain can become accustomed to the pills and demand unnatural levels to dull pain and feel pleasure.

One individual, a neurologist, who has been practicing in Provo, Utah, for 28 years, believes that medical marijuana can be an answer to this opioid problem. He asked not to be identified because medical marijuana isn’t legal in Utah, so he will be referred to as Dr. R. He said, “There are over 200,000 new opioid addicts in the United States every year.”

Dr. R mentioned that many of the illicit drug addictions stem from prescription opioids. Oxycodone is the most commonly abused medication. He believes heroine is the most popular illicit drug that opioid abuse leads to because of the falling prices for it in Utah.

In his clinic he only prescribes opioids if the patient is in immense pain. When he does prescribe them it is in low quantities for a short period of time. He will try every other option of medication before he tries opioids because of their negative effects.

If the patient is looking for long-term opioid prescriptions he sends them to a pain clinic that can better manage their pain and medication intake.

When prescribing an opioid Dr. R has three rules: 1. The patient must sign a contract agreeing that he is the only provider for this drug; 2. The patient has to agree to stay within the parameters he supplies; 3. His office checks the patient out on DOPL, which stands for The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. This program indicates what other medications the patient is prescribed. He takes these measures to prevent patient addiction.

“I prefer medical marijuana to opioids, and anecdotally multiple patients have told me medical marijuana works better than their opioids,” Dr. R said. He explained marijuana is known to be a “culture drug,” which is the cause for difficulty in legalization.

Michelle C., a medical assistant who has been practicing in Draper, Utah, for eight years, said opioid addiction is a significant problem. Many patients come to her clinic seeking an opioid prescription.

“It doesn’t matter about your age, gender, or profession, anyone can become addicted and we see all different types of people that are struggling,” said Michelle, who asked not to be identified. If a patient wants an opioid prescription and is in pain, the clinic will prescribe one as a last resort and only for three months at most.

In most cases, Michelle said medical marijuana is a better alternative than opioids. She said it can benefit children who suffer from seizures and birth defects because it has been proven to help them. Cancer patients can also find great relief from it.

Michelle’s sister suffers from LAM disease, which attacks the lungs and is fatal. “My sister lives in Idaho so she doesn’t have access to medical marijuana. I wish that she did because it would benefit her a lot more than the pain pills she is prescribed,” Michelle said. Her sister is in constant pain and she believes that in cases like that, medical marijuana is the way to go.

Michelle does not recommend smoking medical marijuana for health reasons, and says taking the pill form of it is best.

Lee Barry, who lives in California and uses medical marijuana for his back pain, said he used to be prescribed pain pills and began to worry when he started depending on them too much. He increased his dosage because his body became used to the medication. Soon he realized that he couldn’t continue taking them because he was on the road to addiction.

He turned to medical marijuana and said it was a much better solution for him. “When taking my pain pills I felt groggy and in a daze all the time. When I switched over to medical marijuana I felt so much better and didn’t have to worry about addiction,” Barry explained in a Skype interview.

Barry believes medical marijuana is a perfect alternative to pain pills and would never go back to taking them again. It helps his back pain and he feels more like himself than when he was using opioids. He doesn’t know where he would be in his life without it.

Barry, Michelle, and Dr. R all agree that medical marijuana is the better alternative to opioid medications. They all believe that the opioid epidemic is very serious and caution people to avoid taking them at any cost.

If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction you can call 1-800-622-HELP to reach Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline that is free and confidential.

RELATED: Listen to The Politics of Medical Marijuana, a May 2018 episode of KUER’s “RadioWest” that explored “the politics, popular opinion, and policies surrounding legalizing cannabis” in the U.S. and Utah.





What type of note taker are you?

Story and slideshow by BAILEY CALDWELL

There are two types of college students. One group has a notebook and a pen or pencil at the ready. Another group totes laptops, tablets or phones to their courses. Students know that in order to pass their classes, they need to take notes.

Go into any classroom, lecture room/hall or anywhere students gather to learn and you will see both of these types of students.

Students don’t always use laptops the same way. Some students use their computer for note taking only, while other students use them for note taking and for surfing the web, online shopping, playing games and other activities.

In a number of experiments done by Princeton University and the University of California, students were given either a pen and paper or a laptop to take notes during a lecture.

After the lecture, the students were given a test on the lecture. Those who used laptops did worse than those who hand wrote notes.

While interviewing students about their personal note taking habits, two students were found to have vastly different styles from one another.

Kourtney England, 22, a senior at Utah State University majoring in communications, has tried taking notes with a laptop but ultimately decided on handwritten notes. She was unable to retain the amount of information she normally did when handwriting notes.

“I tried to type notes in a general education class and it did not work out for me. Once I switched back to handwritten notes, I started scoring higher on quizzes and tests,” England said.

England had only switched from handwritten notes to typing notes for a couple of weeks and her scores decreased in her classes.

Laptops can be used for several different things, not just note taking. This can be a distraction for students who use them for note taking.

Ryan Bailey, 25, a senior at Southern Utah University majoring in communications, uses a laptop to take notes. “I have used both handwritten notes and computer notes. I memorize better with computer notes, but pay more attention and learn more with handwritten notes,” Bailey said.

For him the hardest part of taking notes is paying attention. “I struggle at staying in lectures and being engaged,” Bailey said. He keeps a piece of paper to doodle on in class to help him from playing on his laptop.

A study done in Norway at the University of Stavanger in 2011 shows “writing by hand strengthens the learning process. When typing on a keyboard, this process may be impaired.”

According to researchers, when a person takes handwritten notes, their brain receives feedback from the motor actions from the hand and a feeling from the pencil/pen. Those are far different than those from touching a keyboard.

“When writing by hand, the movements involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain, which helps us recognize letters,” researchers discovered.

Handwritten notes are far better for studying than typing them on a computer and based on an informal poll posted on Facebook and Instagram, most college students would agree with this.

The informal poll of 173 college students showed that 77 percent of students write their notes by hand. Does this mean that students are listening to what the research is showing?

Perhaps, but it also might be because their professor doesn’t give them the option.

Dr. Natasha Seegert teaches in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. She has taught Principles of Visual Communication for three and a half years. She does not allow any electronic devices during her lectures.

Seegert made this decision after reading an article by Clay Shirky, a professor of media studies and the internet. Shirky took a long time to make the decision to ban the internet and electronic devices in his classes.

In the article, Shirky said he noticed over the years that it was as if “someone has let fresh air into the room. The conversation brightens, and more recently, there is a relief from many of the students.”

Shirky decided to ban electronic devices because multitasking decreases a person’s performance and can have lasting effects on the memory.

Seegert put a lot of thought into banning electronic devices in her own classes after hearing stories from her husband, who also teaches at the U, about how he banned devices and reading articles by scholars such as Clay Shirky.

She said her husband tells his students that when they walk into his class they are walking into what he calls the “magic circle.” Seegert said her husband explains that when playing a board game with others each person understands that there are rules, and if you don’t follow those rules you are out of the game.

When entering the classroom, you are agreeing to be in that space together. “You agree to certain rules that apply there and are focused on the same topic or same concept,” Seegert said.

Seegert’s classroom is her “magic circle” and she does not allow any sort of electronic device during her teaching time. This includes laptops, phones, watches and anything that requires charging.

She advises students “to make sure you are taking notes with not just your head processing things but your whole body doing it as well. So there is not as much as a disconnect between your body and your brain,” she said.

Note taking takes a lot of concentration and by using a laptop, you are cheating your brain out of cognitive learning.

“Your body will process and memorize things that you did not realize just by writing those words,” Seegert said.


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Branding The Leonardo

Story and gallery by CHARLES BUCK

The front desk of the Leonardo Museum was bustling as employees were answering phones and signing for deliveries on Monday, March 12. A new exhibit was opening in three days and the activities formed the perfect backdrop as the museum’s Chief Development Officer, Deb Peterson, described the challenges of creating a brand.

According to The Leonardo’s website, the museum opened in 2011 with the personality behind Leonardo da Vinci as a brand strategy that would define a museum dedicated to inspiring “creativity and innovation in people of all ages and background.”

Sitting just inside the main exhibition space, Peterson explained that da Vinci’s curiosity perfectly defined an interactive museum dedicated to learning about art, science and technology. The goal was to align the museum with the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It allowed The Leonardo, located at 209 E. 500 South, to be a place where visitors could explore exhibits with the same sense of curiosity and wonder as da Vinci himself. However, creating such a unique space also created unique branding challenges.

“Phase one was to get the doors open,” Peterson explained. Phase two was to spark interest in the community by hosting famous exhibits like “Bodyworlds” and the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” While successful, these exhibits didn’t clinch The Leonardo’s brand identity in Utah.

“We had to reeducate the public,” Peterson said. The museum had developed a reputation for being a venue for traveling exhibits, and the public forgot that The Leonardo had the unique distinction of being a place of discovery and wonder in the world around us.

This reeducation process involved all the traditional media: print, radio, television and billboards. Social media was starting to play a role, but “wasn’t what it is today,” Peterson explained. The board of directors assumed the challenge was merely to explain why the museum became da Vinci’s namesake. However, they quickly discovered that not everyone was familiar with the painter, architect and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. “We just assumed everyone knew,” Peterson said.

This branding challenge continues today, with social media playing an ever-changing role. “@theLeo,” “#theLeonardo,” and “#attheLeonardo” have all been attempts at increasing public engagement through various social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. While describing a successful social media strategy Peterson explained that the challenge in going viral is having content critically relevant to the current social climate. To go viral the right message has to be shared with the right audience at the right time.

The focus on relevance has led The Leonardo to partner with Pictureline to create a drone exhibit, and with the LEGO brand to create an interactive exhibit focused on da Vinci’s fascination with architecture and city planning.

Mariann Asanuma is a LEGO master builder commissioned by The Leonardo to build a replica of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, a Salt Lake City landmark completed in 1909. She started working for LEGO in 2003, and eventually realized her dream of turning her passion for the building blocks into a career.

LEGO fans describe the years between when they stop playing with LEGOs in their teens and start playing with them again in their 20s as “dark years.” Asanuma explained, “I never had dark years.” Her Instagram page describes Asanuma as the “World’s First Female LEGO Artist specializing in #marketing #custommodels #teambuildingevents #customkits.”

Her latest posts highlight the progress that Asanuma is making on her model, which she is building on-site at The Leonardo. Asanuma described the constant popularity of Lego as the result of children invigorating their parents’ passion for the blocks, and not always the parents introducing their children to their own childhood toys.

“The LEGO Movie” and “The LEGO Batman Movie” helped the brand resonate with a new generation. Social media and the internet have also helped lifelong fans of the brand, like Asanuma, create online communities where people remain engaged and passionate about LEGO.

This relevance in popular culture is what makes the LEGO brand such a good match for The Leonardo. Leonardo da Vinci’s exploits with architecture and city planning allow the museum to host a LEGO exhibit without diluting its brand identity, and the popularity of the building blocks brings in a new generation of museumgoers who engage with the exhibit in creative ways.

The exhibit opened March 15, 2018, and between the displays were areas where children could act out the inspiration they found while watching Asanuma in action.

The Leonardo also hosts programs like the “FIRST LEGO League.” The league launched in September 2017 and workshops are scheduled until May 2018. These programs draw in the younger generation, while exhibits like “FLIGHT,” “FANTASTIC FORGERIES,” and “WOMAN/WOMEN” help adults identify with the museum’s brand of discovery and curiosity.

Many of the exhibits adhere to the “Hands on @ The Leo” strategy, and encourage patrons to engage with The Leonardo in person, just as they can in social media. The museum’s website invites visitors to come and discover the “forces behind engineering by tinkering, designing, and problem solving.”

Partnering with companies that brand themselves around the processes of technology or discovery will keep the museum relevant. Peterson described the essence of The Leonardo’s brand strategy: “If guests leave our museum with more questions than answers, I’ve done my job.”