Thursday, July 29, 2010

(LAURIOL PLAZA) Friday June 11th

We started off the morning with a guest speaker about our age. Bianca Kahlenberg is the co-chair of the National Youth Council and also President of her Red Cross Club at the University of Florida. She spoke to us about all the do’s and don’ts to starting a Red Cross Club on our campuses. Her information was very real and informational.

After Bianca spoke to us, we worked on our strategic plans until lunch. Following lunch, Jackie Battle came in to say a few words to us. She gave her blood recipient story and it was very emotional. At the American Red Cross, Jackie is a senior administrative specialist in sales and marketing within the biomedical services. Jackie is also a part of the donor recruitment committee at the Red Cross.

For the rest of the afternoon, we worked on our strategic plans and then straight from work to Lauriol Plaza where we were going to have dinner. It was such a nice Mexican restaurant and the food was delicious! I had a chimichanga, and it was also a great time for everyone to get to know each other as well. Brian was so generous and paid for our dinners, Thanks Brian! After dinner, Katie( one of the bosses, part of the leadership program last year), Jon (from Bethel College), Patrick ( from California), and Jennifer (the lady who put this whole trip together, aka amazing person!), and I decided we wanted ice cream! So we went to Ben & Jerry’s, where I had strawberry cheesecake ice cream of course! After ice cream, we all just headed back to the dorms where we all hung out until bed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

(DIVERSITY AWARENESS) Thursday June 10th

We started off the morning with a diversity awareness session with Tim O’Malley. He is the Founder and Lead Consultant for Fios Consulting. His work focuses on culture change and transition, the integration of diversity into business processes, multicultural education, team development, and leadership development. This diversity training was one of my favorite parts of the week. He engaged the group in different activities including a card game when each of us were playing a version of Spades. But we didn’t know that each table had a different set of rules. So when the winners and losers switched tables, we all assumed we were playing the same game. It was so frustrating because we could not talk and had to figure out what was going on. Eventually, one person just took over and dictated each table and that person was the winner. At my table, Hanna and I dictated who won each hand, but I ended up winning the game. We basically just made our own rules to each specific table and made it work.

After lunch, we had a few more speakers, the first of being Vicki Thomas. Vicki is the director of the Sales and Marketing sector of the Biomedical Services at the American Red Cross. We learned the tagline, “the need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.” Vicki spoke to us about banners and logos for the Red Cross. I never knew there were so many rules and that we can only use certain colors! She also spoke of common barriers for our age group the first few including: we’re too busy, we have a fear either of needles or the unknown and temporary deferrals.

Our next speaker was Kelly High. Kelly is in the marketing and information technology sector of the American Red Cross. She spoke to us about competition on our campuses. I honestly had no idea that there were other blood services besides the Red Cross. Growing up, I have always been surrounded by the Red Cross. She also gave us tips to making blood donors lifelong donors. Some of these tips include the following: make it fun, create a theme, special treatment for first time donors, and recognition and appreciate.

After Kelly spoke with us, we headed upstairs to the 9th floor to the office to work on our strategic plans some more. Our group seemed to lean toward doing our own thing. We split the work up and went with it. The plan seemed to work out well, because when everyone else was nervous about presentations, our group was calm and collective because we knew we had everything put together nicely.

After work, some people decided to stay in but the rest of us went a few blocks down to the Farmer’s Market. I had never been to a farmer’s market like this before. This one took up a whole block and there were so many vendors; it was really cool! I tried some milk that was straight from the cows and very good! Also in the park, there was a reggae concert going on which was awesome, because I love reggae.

After listening to some reggae, Jessi, Steven, Jake, and I headed out to do some more sightseeing. We first went to the White House, because the first time when we went, we didn’t bring out cameras for security reasons. So we took a bunch of pictures outside of the White House and then headed to the Washington Monument. After the Washington Monument, we went to the World War Two Memorial, and then continued up the path to the Lincoln Memorial. Jake almost got us kicked out of the Lincoln Memorial because he was being loud and you’re supposed to keep your voices to a whisper within the memorial. After we hit up the gift shop, we started walking back to the dorms looking for food. Steven was trying to find us a restaurant using his amazing Droid phone and we got so turned around, it was hilarious! Finally we asked for a good restaurant, and there ended up being Tonic right down the block from our dorms. That restaurant was amazing!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

(WHITE HOUSE TOUR) Wednesday, June 9th

Tuesday afternoon we learned that our “special tour” on our itineraries was a tour of the White House! At 8:30, we all met in front of headquarters, and as group walked the few blocks to the White House together. Of course, me being my forgetful self left my driver’s license in my room so I had to run back to the dorms, in heels, and then catch up with the group. The tour itself was amazing! After multiple security checks, we finally got into the White House. We got to visit the downstairs area including the library, the vermeil room, the china room, the east room, the green room, the blue room, the red room, and the state dining room. My favorite room was the state dining room because of the flowers on the tables. We learned that a florist has a shop in the basement of the White House and switches up the flowers every 2-3 days and also makes the flower pots. We were the first group of NAIA students to get to go on the tour, so thank you Jennifer Lourie for making that happen!!

After the tour, the group headed back to headquarters to get started on our work for the day. Katie and Tori shared their experiences from last year with us and what they did at their blood drives. They told us what worked for their campuses and what didn’t. Their presentation really helped us to see how much of a difference we can make and that we must never feel discouraged! We took a long break for lunch and then resumed our day with Dr. Richard Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin was one of my favorite speakers in all of the two weeks! He is the Chief Medical Officer for Red Cross. He told us so much useful information for our blood drives. Our current blood drives are on the third floor which is not a good idea at all. Although, I do not know where else our drives could be so that donors have easy access. I asked Dr. Benjamin why women have a tendency to get deferred often because of their iron level. He replied that different ethnicities have different amounts of iron in their bodies and the standard for giving blood is based on Caucasians. I thought this was interesting because I have always thought my iron was low, but from Dr. Benjamin I learned that it may not be!

Our next speaker was Gloria Huang who is a social media specialist for the ARC. She spoke to us about Facebook, Twitter, and blogs that could assist us in gaining support for our blood drives. After her presentation, the group went upstairs to work on our strategic plans! My group consisted of Olivia Goodall (from Atlanta), Kayla Anderson (from Kansas), and Jake Fox (from Oklahoma). Our topic was Support and Sustainability on our campus. We were to discuss how we can gain the support for our blood drives and how we can sustain our success after we graduate in a few years.

After working on our strategic plans until five, the group headed back to the dorms to get ready to go out for the night. A couple of people got suggestions for restaurants from locals so we all decided to go to Nooshi, an Indian restaurant a few blocks away. I had sushi for dinner and it was delicious! Larke, from Mississippi, was sitting next to me and she had never had sushi before so I had her try mine since it was a pretty basic combination and would be good for someone’s first time. I will never forget her face! She was trying so hard to keep it down, she absolutely hated it! That is the last time I will ever suggest somebody try something new!!

After dinner, Amber, Steven, and I went across the street to a sports store. I was in desperate need of a jacket since I forgot mine at home! And they had special edition flat billed Nationals hats so I could get my boyfriend a present! After we made our purchases, we were making our way down the street to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and all of a sudden we were told to stop walking. So curious as we were, we waited right there and a man was rushed out the door of the Palm Restaurant surrounded by security guards and ushered into his black SUV with extreme tinted windows. Turns out, it was the President of Georgia that I was so lucky to get a glimpse of!

I had my first Ben & Jerry’s experience that night, with strawberry cheesecake ice cream and it was delicious! When going to an ice cream place, I learned quickly that you don’t have many options if you don’t like chocolate! Afterwards, Sam, Jake, Larke, Hanna, and I took off for a late night jog down to the Washington Monument. It was so beautiful at night!

Friday, July 16, 2010

(NATIONALS GAME) Tuesday June 8th

We started off Tuesday morning by meeting the Executive Vice President of Biomedical Services, Chris Hrouda. He is the man who does all the work while Shaun Gilmore oversees and is the brains behind the whole operation at the Red Cross. He was very influential and encouraged each one of us to take on a challenge!

Next on our list of speakers was Eva Quinley, who had some last minute obligations to her family in Tennessee so she gave her presentation via conference call. Eva is Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at the Red Cross. Eva is a specialist in blood banking and taught us everything we need to know about blood. An interesting statistic she passed along to us said that out of the 60% of Americans who are able to donate, only 5% of them do.

Our next speaker of the day was Jan Hale from Oklahoma. She is a communications manager for the southwest blood services region. She manages all internal and external communications and public relations activities for the state. Her presentation was very fun and interesting and the point of hers was for us to be creative and put our personalities into our blood drives!

After Jan Hale spoke to us, Chrystel Bell came in to make a presentation. Chrys is an account representative for the Great Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region for the ARC. She shared her story with us of having to receive four transfusions to aid her during the birth of her daughter. She spoke to us about how to make our blood drives better!

Our last speaker of the day, in the office, was Cameron Branock whom I met before my D.C trip. He is a Donor Recruitment Representative for the Indiana-Ohio region and was also a part of the NAIA/Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program of 2008. He spoke to us about his experiences both of his D.C trip and of his experiences once he went back to his campus to begin the blood drives. His main focus was on the TEAM acronym standing for Together Everyone Achieves More. He also spoke to us about how to make our blood drives more successful.

After Cam spoke to us, the group headed back to the dorms to change and get ready for the WASHINGTON NATIONALS GAME!! Everyone was extremely excited for this game since Stephen Strasburg was premiering in his first major league game. Once we arrived at the stadium around 4:30, the area surrounding the park was already packed! We waited around a while and then Israel Negron came out to meet us to give us our tickets before taking us up to the executive offices.

Waiting for us up at the executive office, was the executive vice president of the Nationals, Bob Wolfe. He is in his fifth season with the Nationals and before coming to Washington, he served with both the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, including over a decade as the Braves’ Sr. Vice President of Administration. Bob Wolfe was an inspiration, he told us to do what we love and the way he spoke to us was so uplifting and filled with enthusiasm. He made the Nationals game more than I ever thought it would be (not being a baseball fan at all!) The game itself was AWESOME! We witnessed an amazing game and an emerging great player! Stephen had an awesome game and we were a part of that sold out crowd and also a part of history in the making! The game was so much fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

(INTRODUCTIONS) Monday, June 7th

Amber and I woke up around 7:30 in anticipation for our first day at the National Headquarters. Fortunately, headquarters was about two blocks from where the group was staying at George Washington University. The group arrived at Headquarters together at about 8:55. We learned quickly to always arrive early! We received name tags, access passes (to get in the building and for the elevators.) Then we had a welcome introduction and met Brian Hamil, the man behind this whole program!

Our first guest speaker was Michael Brown, Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships at the American Red Cross. He really set the tone for our time here in D.C. He was energetic and passionate about what he does every day. His enthusiasm got the whole group very excited for what was to come! A quote he said to us by John Wooden stated, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.” This quote is so true, many people are so caught up with what other people think about them when they should be more concerned with their life and living it to their potential regardless of what others think.

Our next speaker was Gerald (Jerry) DeFrancisco, who is President of Humanitarian Services at the Red Cross. I loved his presentation because he showed me how amazing international services are and made me want to join the Red Cross or Peace Corps and leave the United States for the while and be a volunteer and make an impact in a third world country.

After Jerry’s eye opening presentation, Shaun Gilmore, the President of Biomedical Services at the Red Cross came to speak to the group. He oversees all of the biomedical services at the ARC so he is a huge deal! His job as President of Biomedical Services is to grow the business and to provide leadership. His attitude is that at every opportunity, he asks himself “How can I make a difference?” I think that is a great way to look at life and I plan to strive to take that quote to heart.

After Shaun’s presentation, we walked a few blocks to the other buildings of ARC National Headquarters and received a tour of that area. We went into a beautiful room where we learned that our reception would take place there. After the tour, Katie and Tori brought the group upstairs so we could get settled at our desks in our office. And it was a beautiful view! We could see the Washington Monument right from where we were sitting, it was amazing!

We left the office around five, and headed back to the dorms to get changed to go to dinner. We went to Baja Fresh, sort of like a Chipotle for dinner, and it was good! After dinner, we relaxed and just got to know each other better as we walked to the Harbor (on the Potomac River). We met Brian there and also one of our speakers for the next day, Cameron and his wife, Sam, for gelato at the harbor. I had never had gelato before and it was delicious!

Around 10, a group of us girls decided we wanted to go running. Sam, Larke, Kayla, Becky and I headed out for our first tour of Washington D.C. We all tried to stay together as a group at first, but then Sam and I broke off a bit to release some of our energy. We were trying to run to the White House, but since it was dark we ran right past it and just kept on going. What was meant to be a thirty minute run ended up being over an hour! It felt great though, running in a beautiful city, I thought I could run forever!

Friday, July 9, 2010

(ARRIVE!) Sunday June 6th

I arrived in D.C around 4 p.m. to be welcomed with a text from Katie asking how my flight was. Although, I had no idea who Katie was at the time, because I didn’t receive the email from her and Tori. Katie and Tori were the two girls from last year's program who were asked to come back and take our group under their wing, and show us around D.C after work. I took a taxi to New Hall where I met Larke, Kayla, and Samantha. We waited in a line forever to get our keys, but it gave us a chance to get to know each other. Once we finally got to the dorms, I met a few more people and then we all just chilled before we went to Potbelly’s for a snack while waiting for Becky and Jessi.

After everyone except Jon arrived, we went out for a late dinner at Johnny Rockets. That first night, I knew that this group of people were going to be so close after the end of the two weeks. That first night we all interacted and came together so well even though we were complete strangers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Good Morning Peregrine Fans!
I am Alex Starr, a member of the women's team here at Purdue Calumet and I am going to keep you updated with our team and all the goings on at Purdue Calumet! First, Let me introduce myself:

I am Alexandria Starr, number 10 on the basketball team, I am a sophomore shooting guard majoring in biology (pre-optometry). I am from Plymouth, Indiana, where no one has ever heard of. It is about an hour east of Merrillville on 30! I grew up in a small town and I am ready to move to a big city like Chicago, Philadelphia, or D.C once I graduate! Right now, I am headed to Optometry school after I graduate, but plans are never definited. I would love to travel while I can!! I love to run, read, golf, and just relax. I have been playing basketball all my life, but I never really became coordinated and expressed a love for the game until high school. One of my role models is Andrew Woodrich, one of my AAU coaches in high school, because I think between him and my mother, they helped me have a passion for this game. My favorite color is purple, my favorite music is a random mix of everything from 311 to Bob Marley to Drake and Alicia Keys. I love to eat so I have many favorite foods like strawberry cheesecake, cheetos, spaghetti, and filet mignon! I have a nice obsession with shopping, and I especially love shoes! I love everything for Jordans to boots to sandals to flip flops! Right now, my current obsessions are heels and high tops :)

Well that's all for now. Soon to come will be my Washington D.C trip and the annual Purdue Calumet/Powers Golf outing!!!

Until then here is a quote I stumbled upon this morning from the national chair and the leader of my Washington D.C trip, Brian Hamil:

"Leadership can't be claimed like luggage at the airport. Leadership can't be inherited, even though you may inherit a leadership position. And leadership can't be given as a gift-- even if you've been blessed with an abundance of leadership skills to share with someone else. Leadership must be earned by mastering a defined set of skills and by working with others to achieve common goals."
-David Cottrell