Archive for category Student life

For prospective University at Albany journalism students…

     The Journalism Department at the University at Albany in Albany, New York was founded in 1973, by a man named William Rowley who was former editor of the Knickerbocker Press and he retired in 1984. Another important person in the role of the journalism program was William Kennedy, author and professor, who worked with Rowley from the beginning, and until 1982.
     Professor Rowley said the stated mission of the program was that, “ Our primary task is to provide a liberal education and to preserve and nurture our humanistic culture.” Even today, the campus is still striving for this goal.
Author and Professor William Kennedy, who still is involved in the University informally. Photo courtesy of

Author and Professor William Kennedy, who still is involved in the University informally. Photo courtesy of

Although the department was small and only consisted of a few classes when it first began, it evolved into a well-respected minor in the English department. The enrollments of students have also increased every semester.

     The University at Albany also earns credibility for hiring two professors who are highly respected in their field, amongst many others. The first is Professor Nancy Roberts, who was director at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the second is Professor Thomas Bass, who directed at the Hamilton College Program in New York City. These two professors, as many other of the professors at Albany, are also well-known authors.
Professor William Rainbolt. Photo courtesy of Edwina Smith.

Professor William Rainbolt. Photo courtesy of Edwina Smith.

Another very important person, who has been here the longest,  is Professor William Rainbolt, he has been there for 24 years. He has grown with the program and helped it become what it is today.  Although he has recently handed his title of director over to Roberts, he is still teaching classes and advising students. When he is not teaching he is learning to help people who are dealing with Bereavement and Grief. After he retires at Suny Albany he hopes to become a counselor in this field.

The journalism program at the  university had graduated 800 journalism minors in 2005, and Professor William Rainbolt said that, “Even though it was only a minor, the students called themselves journalism students,” proudly. Also in 2005, there was over 500 media-internships for  journalism students.

Rainbolt is also very excited for the improvements that he has accomplished. He said, “Those that apply themselves can get a lot out of it, you just have to produce,” speaking of the students taking advantage of the journalism program. If journalism is what you are really interested in, then you will enjoy the experience at the university, the teachers expect you to work hard and write a lot.

To be a journalism major there are several requirementsthat you need including 30 credits in a Jrl courses, 6 credits in another department or program in the student’s concentration. There are 4 different types of journalism concentrations offered which include: Public Affairs Journalism; Science and Technology Journalism; Visual and Digital Media; and General Journalism. The concentration General Journalism is an array of courses designed to embrace learning reporting and writing.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

With two thirds of the alumni working in the journalism field it is safe to say that the journalism program is a success today. Journalism in 2006, finally became a choice for students to major in, after 33 years of being a minor. Today there are 28 sections (topics of classes) being taught to students.

The classrooms are taught by almost 75% of adjuncts; which consists mostly of  professors who also work full-time positions in the real world of journalism on a daily basis. As a student, I will say that this aspect is my favorite of the journalism department. There is nothing like attending a class about journalism when the professor has just left their journalism job and can give you the breakdown of their day.

Daryl McGrath professor, journalist, and freelance writer, has been an adjunct at the University “on and off ” since 1988. She has worked at the Boston Globe, The Record-Journal, Times Union and participated in an internship at the Chicago Tribune. She is freelancing currently and writing a book.

Being that she is part of many adjuncts at Suny Albany she said “I think all of us could do a better job if teaching was all we were doing. It is a struggle to give students the best they deserve.” In my opinion, after taking a class with her, she did a very well in-depth job of teaching me the history of journalism and portrayed what was to be expected of me as a journalist. This is just an example of how dedicated the professors are, they always think that they could do better.

Professor and Director Nancy Roberts. Photo courtesy of

Professor Nancy Roberts. Photo courtesy of

“Given the complex issues of the day such as war and terrorism and global warming, there’s never been a better time to study and practice journalism,” said Nancy Roberts. Other reasons that now is a great time to study journalism are President-elect Barack Obama, and the new world of journalism on the Internet. Even though newspapers are at their downfall, many publications are turning to the Internet.

In one of my classes Professor Michael Huber, who also works at the Times Union newspaper in Albany, said to us “Why are you (students) studying to be journalists, when so many jobs are being lost?” Many people who work for newspapers see print journalism as the only way of journalism, but just because newspapers seem to be coming to an end, does not mean that journalism is. A whole new door has been opened for journalists, they just have to learn how to put their journalism on the Internet in an attractive way.

The program at Albany’s University teaches students to use blogs; which are one of the many ways of “new journalism”. With this aspect under student’s belts’ it is a guarantee for success. You have to know how to use journalism on the Internet because the people who hire you will want to see this as a  credential.

Journalism is changing every day, literally. Professors at the university are aware of this and create their classes to keep up with all of the changes. Huber said, many news organizations are putting their news onto a website because they realize that this is how their readers prefer to gain their news.

For example Professor David Washburn has an advanced class where students write, edit and package magazine length stories for the web. It is all hands-on, because students need to be learning how to multiple tasks.

Here are a list of full-time journalism professors at the University at Albany and their colleges they graduated from:

Professors College attended
Thomas Bass, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
Nancy Roberts, Ph.D. University of Minnesota
William Rainbolt,Ph.D. University at Albany
Rosemary Armao,M.A. Ohio State University

Then here is a list of part-time professors at the University at Albany:

Professors College attended
Bill Ackerbauer, B.A. Union College
Steve Barnes, B.A. Ithaca College
Sebrina Barrett, J.D. Southern Illinois University
Benning De La Mater, M.S. Syracuse University
Richard D’Errico, M.A. Empire State College
Dennis Gaffney, B.A. Wesleyan University
Sebrina Barrett, J.D. Southern Illinois University
David Guistina, M.A. University at Albany
Michael Hendricks, B.A. University of Michigan
Michael Hill, B.A. SUNY Geneseo
Ronald Kermani, B.S. Syracuse University
Stephen Leon, M.S. Northwestern University
Darryl McGrath, M.S. Columbia University
Holly McKenna, B.A. University of Tennessee
Thomas Palmer, B.S. Auburn University
Shirley Perlman, B.A. SUNY at Buffalo
Claudia Ricci, Ph.D. University at Albany
Christopher Ringwald, M.S. Columbia University
Katherine Van Acker, B.S. Montana State University
Laney Salisbury, M.S. Columbia University
David Washburn, M.S. Syracuse University

The University has also recently received a grant from  the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation to invite science writers and well-known journalists to the campus. They are going to be participating in seminars, events and classes. The hope is to give the journalism students a chance to discuss certain important topics and get an idea of how to relate them to the public.

“This is a timely gift that enriches our curricular offerings in science journalism,” said Bass. “The grant confirms our view that the Journalism Program, while extremely popular, is also extremely important. We’ve been spotted by a foundation which recognizes ethics and excellence in Journalism, and this is what we do.”

With the university constantly improving  it is hard to pass up the opportunity of participating in such a well thought out program. I will take responsibility as a student and say that I recommend this program highly to any one who is serious about receiving a prestigious degree in journalism. The classes are fun, hands-on, challenging, up to date with today’s journalism, and a irreplaceable experience.

If you are interested in finding out about the classes offered at the University at Albany journalism department you can check out this page. Also if you are interested you can look at the video below to learn more about the University as a brief overview and find out some quick facts.


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Students working and attending college full-time

     In class today, a young lady expressed that she wanted to make aware that it is very difficult to attend school and work full- time. It is a struggle, every day, to achieve a degree from college while also paying bills at the same time and other expenses. It is true that a lot of people on campus do have the help from their parents; these that do, well, they are just lucky.

     It seems to me, or this is how I was raised by my parents, that the harder you work for something the more proud of yourself you will be and also the more dedicated. With that said, times are hard, the road is not always smoothly rode upon, and obstacles will always be present – just remember how you deal with these situations is what adds to your character.

     My mother went back to school, after having 3 children. Most surprisingly, she wanted to be an electrician. In her classes she was the only woman. Not only was it hard to complete her work at home, with 3 children, but in the class room it was difficult for her to be taken seriously due to her gender. She amazingly “almost” graduated with a perfect 4.0 G.P.A; she had missed a day of school because she had to stay home with us kids on a snow day, therefore missed a test in one class and the professor would not let her make it up.

     My mom is my role model, she achieved her goal; no matter what she was determined. I am sure it helped every day to look into her children’s eyes and know that she wanted better for them. It helps having something to remind you every day why you are setting out to accomplish your goals. As for me, I have my daughter and fiance, they are the reasons that I succeed. I want my fiance to be proud of me, and I want my daughter to look up to me like I do my own mother.

     There are students that “just” go to college because their parents told them that is what they had to do. A lot of these students, not all, do not even know what they want to do with their lives, they do not have their heart into it because their parents have only told them they had to. It would probably be better for these students to hold off on school until they find what they are passionate about; therefore making school count for what it should, instead of “just” a degree that they are unaware how to use it.

     It was very admirable watching the young lady in class today, tell her story. I was very interested in how she was faced with obstacles and stood strong on her decision of pursuing college. College is many things, including a privilege, a tool for the world, wisdom, and an experience. Every student walks away from college with something, whether it be a real understanding of life and how others advance to the next level of their career, or making friends that will last a lifetime. College is what you make it to be, and what you want it to be, so get the most you can.

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(Rewrite of drinking opinions) College presidents say lower the drinking age..

The debate of lowering the drinking age to 18, was started by the Amethyst Initiative. This organization was created by presidents from over a hundred colleges. They say on their website that “A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”-often conducted off-campus- has developed.” Due to this group expanding, from college to college, there has been a lot of discussion.

University at Albany students have mixed feelings. Some beleive it is a good idea, while others think that there should be no drinking age. 

Students seem to beleive that the drinking age should be lowered because binge-drinking is only common from the age of 18-21. Mark Ishak 21, a student at the university, said “Once you turn 21 you want to stop binge drinking.” When teenagers are told that they can not drink alcohol, it just makes them want to do it more. “It is something forbidden,” said Ishak.

Other students thought that there should be no drinking age limit at all.  Drew Dipetra 22, said “Government should not have a say in what the drinking age should be,” and Rob Romero 23, said “It seems the more uptight that we (society) are, the more we show that we are immature.” Laws are made to be broken, and this could be why so much underage drinking is happening.

The main concern in this debate is to keep alcohol abuse under control. If lowering the legal age could make drinking more casual, and less frequent, it is worth the try. Alcohol is a problem when overly consumed, but can also be relaxing if consumption is low. Many doctors would agree that it is healthy to have a glass of wine a day, but drinking so much that you are vomiting is unhealthy.

Government and society need to teach their younger populations that alcohol can be safe and sometimes a good thing. Lowering the drinking age to 18 could solve the problems of binge-drinking because there will be no need to dwell in the excitement of doing something “forbidden.”

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Interviews from UAlbany students -the drinking age being lowered to 18…

Drew Dipietra, 22, Monroe, New York

“Government should not have a say in what the drinking age should be.”

“I did not start drinking until I was 21 years old.”

“Studies have shown that your judgement, in situations, does not reach full potential until age 25.”


Mark Ishak 21, Highland New York

“Once you turn 21 you want to stop binge drinking.”

“I started drinking as a senior in highschool.”

Talking about drinking while underage, “It is something forbidden.”

“People do not realize how bad alcohol is for your health, that is why I do not drink.”

“When your young you think that you are invincible.”

Rob Romero, 23, Monroe New York

“I started drinking at age 16.”

“It seems the more uptight that we are, the more we show that we are immature.”

“Other countries have alcohol legalized at an early age, but they also have lots of drugs legalized.”

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