Tuesday, August 4, 2020


(Originally published May 2020 for the Cleveland Stater student newspaper)

The graduating class of 2020, whether from high school or college, has had nothing short of a tumultuous ride over the past few months as they have had to face the physical and emotional challenges of completing their education virtually due to stay-at-home orders across the country.

For many, having a full course load of online classes was a first. For Cleveland State spring graduates, they are about to experience yet another new undertaking – a virtual commencement ceremony.

Following the university’s announcement of its first virtual commencement to be held on May 30 at 1p.m., graduates found themselves with something to look forward to, since an in-person commencement had been previously postponed until university officials are safely able to organize one.

Cleveland State senior Katie Turocy will be finishing her double major in psychology and health sciences on the pre-occupational therapy track, and she said that while she wishes commencement could be held as normal, she understands that a virtual ceremony is in the best interest for everyone.

“I am disappointed that the current circumstances led to commencement being online. However, I think it is the best-case scenario,” she said. “I would not want to risk my family, friends, or my own health by having a ceremony. I think the online commencement could be put together really well.”

Turocy plans to continue at Cleveland State for graduate school, and said she feels blessed that she will at least be able to experience another commencement ceremony down the line. As far as this year’s ceremony goes, she said that if the school is able to organize an in-person commencement exclusively for spring graduates she would certainly attend, but if her class is combined with future fall graduates she would not feel obligated.

For some, the validation of being able to eventually walk the stage is still essential. Crystal Beaulieu, graduating from the journalism program, said she is both excited and curious to see what the virtual commencement has in store – but not quite sure what to expect. She has eagerly anticipated the chance to ‘walk’ for a long time, not just for the thunderous applause, but for the deep symbolism it holds for herself and her family.

“It's very important for me to walk the stage. As a non-traditional college student and first-generation college graduate, it has taken me over 15 years to earn my bachelor's degree. Now in my mid-30s, I realize the importance of this accomplishment and the grit it took for me to actually graduate,” she said. “My children have watched me struggle and work hard to earn this, and they themselves have had to sacrifice time with their mom as I worked through my courses. Walking the stage would give me the gratification of all my hard work and would give my family the pride of knowing the support they've given me was just what I needed.”

Justin Rosenbaum, 23, graduated from Cleveland State last May under much more normal circumstances, however, he said thinks the idea of a virtual ceremony is a commendable effort upon the part of the university to still honor graduates during unprecedented circumstances.

“As far as pulling it off effectively, I think the school can figure out an appropriate format for families to tune in and students to feel some sort of closure with their graduation,” Rosenbaum said.

He said he wanted to encourage this year’s graduates to focus on their achievements, despite how challenging the conditions around them may be.

“I would tell them the important part is that they were able to graduate. It could have been a situation that was so bad that they couldn’t even finish school,” Rosenbaum said. “So as bad as it may sound in the moment, the important thing is that they graduated and received their degree.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Photo by Sheena Holland
From left to right: Mark Sundahl, Justine Kasznica, Dennis O'Brien, Michelle Hanlon, Christopher Johnson, Steven Mirmina, and Jessy Kate Schlinger participated in the “Returning to the Moon: Legal Challenges as Humanity Begins to Settle the Solar System.”


Living in outer space has been the subject of fascination among both science fiction enthusiasts and scientists alike for decades, but one question has perhaps been mostly overlooked in the public eye – how do we live long, prosper and establish governance and jurisdiction on the moon?

The Global Space Law Center, part of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, presented its 2020 symposium on March 6 when host panelists discussed ideas for what standards could be set as mankind continues to explore outer space and eventually establish a permanent presence on the lunar surface.

Professor Mark Sundahl, director of the Global Space Law Center, served as main moderator for “Returning to the Moon: Legal Challenges as Humanity Begins to Settle the Solar System.”

Sundahl said he thought the first steps toward a moon village involve asking big questions and setting up the legal precedents to make it successful. The Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 laid the groundwork, but he said that existing laws may not be quite enough to govern a lunar society, which would eventually be accessible to many industries.

“Maybe someone goes up there to open up a therapy practice because it can be lonely being up on the moon,” Sundahl said. “Really, a restaurant, a movie theater -- everything we have here on earth, eventually migrated to another celestial body.”

“Imagine that we have public governmental facilities, and we have private facilities, and they are all in the same vicinity with similar needs—a need for everything that sustains life and power,” he continued. “And imagine that this settlement grows relatively large. It starts out with just a handful of astronauts, and over the years, we have maybe 50 people living there. 24-7, 365. This is the idea of a moon village.”

The laws of outer space and a future moon village may seem like a notion out of science fiction to many who are not familiar with them, but the symposium’s timing was relevant. According to NASA’s website, the first phase of the new Artemis space program, planned to take place in 2020, will ultimately lead to NASA sending two astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024.

Panelists from quite a few disciplines and regions, such as Steven Mirmina, an attorney at NASA in the International Law division, and Michelle Hanlon, an associate director for the National Center for Air and Space Law in Mississippi, joined Sundahl to explore various aspects of the issue.

Different panels covered areas such as producing aerospace technology, regulation of public and private companies’ space activities, and to how to potentially enforce jurisdiction for a moon village.

During the panel where speakers discussed what a moon village might look like, Sundahl welcomed Dr. Giuseppe Reibaldi, founder of the Moon Village Association, who joined the symposium via video chat from Rome.

The Moon Village Association is a non-governmental group with a goal to achieve cooperation and understanding between any entities, be they government or private actors, who plan to explore or eventually establish a presence on the moon.

Officials of the Moon Village Association had been working toward finalizing a draft of principles for human occupation on the moon – essentially, a set of best practices for a lunar colony. Reibaldi announced that the principles are now available for public commentary as of that day at moonvillageassociation.org.

Another panel covered the topic of lunar land rights, resource allocation, and preservation of important cultural sites on the moon’s surface. Michelle Hanlon, along with her position at National Center for Air and Space Law, is the president of the nonprofit organization For All Moonkind, Inc.

Hanlon’s organization advocates for the protection of culturally significant sites in outer space. Hanlon said she does not believe every site of human interaction on the moon need to be protected, “but we do need to manage what we protect,” she said.

As an example, Hanlon used the site of the very first moon landing. She said that no law now exists to protect the astronauts’ boot print marks at the site from potential destruction by other entities who land near them.

“We need to make the boot prints on the moon as an important site as footprints fossilized from Tanzania,” Hanlon said.

“Returning to the Moon” offered legal professionals continuing legal education (CLE) credit hours, and the general public could attend for free.

Kristina Schiavone, a member of the Global Space Law Center Research Council, helped organize the symposium, and said she was pleased with the turnout. Schiavone said she believes it is becoming increasingly important for the public to learn more about outer space law.

“Innovation is surpassing law, and in more than just space law,” she said. “Just think about cybersecurity. I think it needs to be discussed, it needs to be talked about. Government is involved with it, as [seen] today. I think the public is ready to hear about it, and they need to hear about it.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney introduces bill to eliminate taxes on textbooks

(As originally published in the Cleveland Stater student newspaper printed edition)

By Sheena Holland

Photo provided by the office of Rep. Sweeney
Going to college can be a daunting experience – between the tuition, tests and pressures to succeed, many students step away, or worse, think they cannot attend at all.
But State Representative Bride Rose Sweeney, 27, a graduate of John Carroll University several years ago, knows the plight of a typical college student, and is pushing for changes to make their lives at least a little bit easier.
Rep. Sweeney (D-Cleveland) along with Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) recently introduced a bipartisan bill to eliminate sales taxes on college textbooks.
Rep. Sweeney said that she was excited about the recent successful elimination of the pink tax (the tax on feminine hygiene products) and it made herself and other legislators continue considering what other demographics could benefit from certain tax breaks.
“This came, which I think is really cool, with another state legislator Naraj Antani. We're two of the youngest people in the general assembly and he is very, very far right,” Rep. Sweeney said. “And it's cool that, being some of the youngest people that are recent graduates from college, [we’re] coming together and saying, ‘okay, what can we do?’ We did just get more money in the budget to hopefully lower costs of tuition, but there's other things we can do.”
She said that she feels the responsibility to speak on behalf of college students and address the student debt crisis rests on the younger members of the general assembly, so introducing the bill to eliminate taxes on textbooks is both a good way to raise awareness and put some money back in the pockets of students.
Reps. Sweeney and Antani have looked over what the raw numbers would look like if the bill goes through, and Sweeney said that she thinks the benefit for students outweighs the relatively minimal hit the state budget would take from cutting that tax.
“We have a $70 billion budget, so this is a few million dollars. So, I think we just keep educating and putting it in those contexts,” Rep. Sweeney said. “You know, unfortunately the average age of the general assembly is – this is just me ballparking, around 50 years old. And so, the people that are in there [are those] who've been making these decisions on higher education. I’ve talked to people and it's just not a priority for them – and I ask about the student loan crisis, and I've had actual members of the general assembly say it's not a crisis. Like it's not a real thing.”
Rep. Sweeney said that she knows how challenging it can be for anyone to join the workforce without a degree, since many entry level jobs require one, so she commends students who brave the hurdles that college poses to reach their goals. She said she wants to contribute any way she can to lessen those barriers, even if it is just helping students save some money whenever they buy a textbook.
“It's a very small break, but you know, when you look at it, it's millions of dollars that the state … taxes on these books, when I think it could be better used in the hands of students.”

CAB's Foam Drop -- Sept. 19 2019

CAB Kicks Off Fall with a Foam Drop
By Sheena Holland                                                                                                     
A typical Thursday evening at Cleveland State consists of students strolling to night classes, having dinner at Chili’s, or trying to catch up on homework that has piled up over the week – or occasionally getting blasted by foam cannons.

The front lawn of the Music and Communication Building transformed into a dance floor made of bubbles on Sept. 19 as the Campus Activities Board hosted Cleveland State’s first Foam Drop event.
The Foam Drop had many elements of a traditional dance party, complete with an energetic DJ on a stage, a fog machine and heavy-duty speakers playing classic pop hits that could be heard well down Euclid Avenue. However, the defining feature of this event was that students who came near the stage were up to their knees – and sometimes higher – in foam bubbles.

CAB’s Viking After Dark Chair Ally Pavey and her assistant David Richeson-Orr orchestrated the event. A company called Glowrage caught their eye during CAB’s annual trip to the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) convention, Pavey said.

Glowrage also does paint parties along with foam ones, but Pavey wanted to bring an event to campus that was different than anything CAB had done before.

“We have had sort of similar things on campus such as Holi, which is the powder party, and a couple years ago we did a paint party, but I had never seen something like foam,” Pavey said. “I thought it’d be something a little bit different, and it kind of looked fun from the picture. So, I wanted to give it a try and see how students responded to it.”

According to Pavey, they responded quite well. She had hit her goal in attendance before the sun even went down.

“My goal was around 200, so I'm at my goal, and hoping to even exceed it,” she said.

CAB also provided Mitchell’s ice cream for attendees and set up various other games around the lawn such as inflatable Twister, giant Jenga, and Connect Four.

 Photos by Sheena Holland:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Spotlight On: Autumn Gielink

Thanks to Autumn for letting me stick her in front of a camera for this fun little interview!
 (And undercut design, of course.)

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Morning at Windhorse Farms

Ruby, the 6 month old Bernese Mountain Dog.

Ellie Cavender and the Golden Boy: Phoenix!

Sherlock, the miniature horse --sans Watson. 

Training session.

Phoenix was acting up and needed to blow off some steam. 

Taming the beast.

A nice stroll by the pond post-training. 
Listen to my interview with Ellie below, where we chat about her horse experience and what makes Phoenix special:

For perspective, some pet ownership statistics from data gathered by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2012:

It turns out that dogs can be just as expensive as horses on average when it comes to vet bills:

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Cleveland State University Enrollment and Tuition Data

We take an overall look at the types of students that comprised CSU's enrollment in 2017:

Taking a glance at the tuition rates for in-state students since 2015, the 2018-2019 school year marked the largest jump in in-state tuition rates in a few years:

Friday, February 15, 2019

Mitchell's Ice Cream: A Local Treat

Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream in Ohio City changes their flavors seasonally --the popular tiramisu flavor has made a comeback.

The Ohio City location boasts an upstairs seating area to enjoy some caramel fudge brownie ice cream.

Seasonal tiramisu flavor.
At the Ohio City flagship location, there is a bird's-eye view of the factory where Mitchell's employees craft their ice cream to be sold at their eight other scoop shops, along with local grocery stores.

The shop is understandably quieter in the colder months, but in the summertime it can be a challenge just to find a seat.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Study Break

by Sheena Holland

by Nicole Merlino

by Nicole Merlino

by Zach Robbins

by Sheena Holland

by Crystal Beaulieu


(Originally published May 2020 for the Cleveland Stater student newspaper) The graduating class of 2020, whether from high school or college...