Word Art for State of the Union Address

This year’s State of the Union Address was not easily missed. Whether you watched it live, or caught comments on social media, President Trump’s words were sure to leave an impression. His boasts of a stronger economy, the resilience of working citizens, and determination to add a wall on the Mexican border could be three impressions on their own. Whatever your reaction may have been, there were definitely specifics that stood out.

I created a Word Cloud to visualize the ideas presented in the Address, with the most important words and phrases in specified colors and sizes. As you can see, I enlarged Trump’s popular tag line, “Make America Great Again.” This, of course, has been the mantra of his presidency.

Trump also spoke on tax reform, job opportunities and immigration reform. Words like “job,” “family,” “immigrant,” “people,” and “tax,” are enlarged to show importance and reputation. Certain words are grouped together as well, in order to show relevance and common topics. Of course the red and blue of the flag were chosen for this Word Art, and common words were colored similarly.

Lastly, my personal favorite, is the actual shape these words create when put together. An eagle is the icon of our nation- representing strength, courage and resilience. Yes, it may sound a bit cheesy, but I thoroughly enjoyed this little Word Art project. Dissecting the words of President trump is more fun when it becomes symbolic! WordArt is the best way to create a lasting impression from a large group of words, give it a shot next time you want to tackle something that might seem intimidating!

The Circle of Life, for Technology

The first step in creating a new technology: set the right price. Surprised? I definitely was. At first thought, the consumer need seems to be the most important step, the first step, to technology development. There are four main stages in this cycle: critical price, critical mass, technology displacement, and becoming ubiquitous- then repeat. But how does that work exactly.. seems confusing.

When a new technology is introduced, the price must drop in order for the consumer to seem it as the best option in their information search, and consequently, the critical mass of market share to rise.  In order for the price of the technology to meet a need, it drops to the level of that need- in this case,
price. And in order for the developer to gain market share, or “critical mass,”
more people need to buy in to the technology, aka buy it. Making more sense? Much better.

But often when a new technology is introduced, other technologies will take off with it. Now this wasn’t what I would immediately expect from the introduction of something new and super shiny. Typically, consumers run from the unknown, not to it, and other similar products.. right? Nope, you’re wrong. So after the “purchase” of a new technology that is deemed the best alternative to meeting a particular need (the product must be accepted by the consumer before they feel comfortable buying it), consumers will begin to purchase similar products with it. Ergo market share increases of all.

And, interestingly enough, that market share will essentially replace others. Here we are at step three of the cycle- displacement of others. Everyone has to make room for the new kid on the block, right? When newer, cooler, products are introduced, others begin to disappear in the market. But before you know it, the new technology will too, hence our repeating cycle.  Still surprised that step one is setting the perfect price? Maybe the next time you’re buying something new and shiny, you’ll remember its life cycle and feel
a little smarter. Or you might just think of this circle of life like me.



Hindle, Tom. “The long tail.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 5 Jan. 2009, www.economist.com/node/12762429. Web



Circle of Life



A Chance for a Better Future

For Xavier Coakley, Auburn is more than a college experience, it is an opportunity for a better future.

A Nassau, Bahamas native, Coakley came to Auburn on a Track and Field scholarship, hoping to excel in his athletic career as a hurdler. He was one of the top hurdlers in his country, appearing on the Bahamas Youth International team on more than one occasion. An athletic scholarship at Auburn was his chance to pursue his dreams. But more than athletics, he saw an opportunity for a better future at Auburn.

“Being international you get that attention of always being asked ‘how is it, why did I choose Auburn, why is it different, and why did I leave home,’” Coakley said. “It’s because of the opportunities and what is better than presented back home.”

For Coakley, a future is more than athletic accomplishments, it is a degree and career.

“There are a lot of opportunities here, as in to have a better life as far as a job,” Coakley said. “I feel like there are better opportunities for life after college.”

To pursue those opportunities, Coakley had to leave everything behind when he came to Auburn.

“They say ‘you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,’” Coakley said. “I was willing to leave home to pursue a better opportunity to make a better life for myself.”

Since beginning life as an Auburn student, Coakley has found his home here outside of athletics.
Auburn is more than just his track team, it is his family.

“The Auburn family is just welcoming; you feel at home,” he said. “This is a very supportive and family oriented place, a very safe place.”

One of Coakley’s favorite aspects of the Auburn family is how easy it is to meet new people. He has made the Auburn family more than just his teammates, it includes everyone that he encounters during the day. He enjoys going out of his way to get to know other students.

“You can converse with people and build a network with people of different nationalities just from having a conversation,” Coakley said.

He has found particular interest in creating conversation during pick-up basketball games at the Auburn Rec Center.

“There are so many people you can meet just from playing [basketball],” Coakley said. “We just build a bond playing basketball.”

Beyond his social networking and athletic skills, Coakley hopes to use his degree in Exercise Science to help others.

“I want to be a trainer or a coach,” he said. “I just like the sport and I want to be a part of it when I graduate and help develop it in other generations. I want to eventually go back home, but get established here first and see how I can help back home with what I’ve learned here.”

Auburn has given Coakley an opportunity to not only build relationships and earn a degree, but also a chance to help others with his education. A chance for a better future drew him here, but he will leave with a new family.

Until then, Auburn is his home.

Making Auburn the Best University for the Best Athletes

Leadership has always been important to senior student-athlete Grant Schenk, but not for its name or status. As a part of the Men’s Swim and Dive team at Auburn, Schenk has gained these qualities through sport, but sees leadership as something more.

“Leaders aren’t bound by titles,” Schenk said. “Being a leader is simply making other people around you better and serving those that need to be served.”

He wanted an opportunity outside of his sport to make a difference.

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee serves as a liaison between student athletes and administrative affairs. Two individuals from each team are chosen to be a part of this committee which meets once a month to discuss any relevant issues and student athlete welfare as a whole. SAAC aims to enhance the total student-athlete experience while providing them a voice for change and improvement in various administrative rules and policies.

For Schenk, the committee was the perfect way to better serve and meet the needs of his fellow student-athletes.

“I started as a representative for the Men’s Swim Team my freshman and sophomore year,” Schenk said. “I saw this as an opportunity to get involved in the community, in the athletics department, and in the administrative and legislative processes of athletics. My junior year I was elected as Vice President and now, in my Senior year, I am the President of Auburn’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.”  

In addition to the responsibility of school and sports, Schenk finds balance in his responsibilities as President.

“There is a lot of behind the scenes work with our Athletics Administration and SAAC executive team to allow these student-athletes the opportunities to participate,” Schenk said. “A lot of time goes into meetings with Administration, emails, and preparatory meetings for events.”
His responsibilities do not fall on his short list, but Schenk finds fulfillment in his role as SAAC President. His passion for serving other athletes and the local community make the title a perfect fit for him.

“Being president means everything to me. It has been a way for me to give back in a small way to the place that has given me so much. The connections and relationships I have been able to make over the last few years have been invaluable. It has been very humbling to assist in providing other student-athletes the opportunities to participate in the community, legislative processes with the SEC and NCAA, and the administrative processes within Auburn Athletics. I learned very early on that this position is about serving the student-athlete body to the best I can and it has been so rewarding to watch our committee grow as student-athletes and ultimately become better people.”  
Serving other student athletes makes Schenk feel like he is doing his part to contribute to the mission of SAAC and promoting student athlete welfare. But the service doesn’t stop at the student athletes. SAAC has monthly community service opportunities that make an impact in the Auburn and East-Alabama areas. These service opportunities include food drives, nursing home visits, Habitat for Humanity, and Angel Tree donations.

“My favorite part of being President would have to be our community service events each month,” Schenk said. “Watching student-athletes take time out of their busy schedules to make the community a better place is so rewarding. When student-athletes use their platform to make a positive impact on Auburn’s campus and beyond, I feel most fulfilled.”

For Schenk, leadership has become more than just his responsibility as President of SAAC. It is now something he will take with him after his time at Auburn. But while he is still here, he will use his role to empower other student athletes to be the best they can be.

“We do our part to make Auburn the best university for the best athletes, as Mr. Jacobs likes to say,” he said.

Do What You Love

Hayden Ellis, a senior Marketing major, knew that he wanted to give back to a program that made a significant impact on him.

“I have loved Auburn Football nearly since birth. Dad and I have had season tickets to Auburn home games my entire life, and I spent nearly every Saturday during the fall in Auburn. Once I got to college, I wanted to figure out a way I could make a positive impact on a program that’s had such a huge impact on my life.”

Ellis chose a major around a world that he loved and wanted to stay involved with. He saw his major as an opportunity to not only build relationships, but learn the needed skills for a lifelong career.

“I became interested in marketing primarily because it involves people,” Ellis said. “And you can also learn how to sell. I love interacting with and meeting new people, and marketing gives me that opportunity. I’ve heard my entire life that if you can sell, you can do anything because anywhere you go, you are always selling yourself.

His love for marketing shifted when he began working in the Athletic Department for football recruiting. Athletics was nothing new to Ellis. Growing up, sports had always pushed him to be his best, and he loved the way competing made him feel. Though he stepped away from Marketing applications, building relationships and selling remained common themes.

Ellis took the textbooks to the sidelines and began to apply his skills outside of the classroom to the field of athletics. He was still building relationships and selling, just to high school athletes instead of his college classmates.

As a recruiter, he spent time assisting personnel and recruiting operations staff on game day or large recruiting events. But after a year of persistence and hard work, Ellis was given an opportunity to become a student-worker with the Football Personnel staff.

“Working with the Player Personnel staff and making Auburn Football Recruiting as successful as possible has taught me more lessons than any job I’ve ever held,” Ellis said. “Learning how to balance a semester worth of college credit while putting in countless hours of work in the personnel office has given me a great idea of what it’s like to be organized and balanced in the real world.”

Being a student worker has helped Ellis understand his priorities as a student, as well as the direction he wants to take his career.

“I want to work in sports,” Ellis said, “whether that is operations, personnel, or administration. Through Player Personnel, I have realized what profession I am going to pursue once I graduate in May.”

He knows that he might not immediately land his dream job, but is willing to do what it takes to get there. He finds inspiration from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall, who, like Ellis, began his career as an intern.

“Sometimes in life your position isn’t always glamorous,” Ellis said, “but you have to pay your dues. Roger Goodell got an internship with the NFL by writing a letter to every NFL team and the league office. That led to an internship, which led to his first entry level position. People who come to work with a false sense of entitlement aren’t usually the ones who make it big.”

Ellis always knew he had a love for all things sports, but it wasn’t until he found a student internship that he realized he wanted to make a career out of it.

“Working in sports is stressful,” Ellis said, “and it’s clear that if you don’t produce, you’re gone. I love my job, and I understand that if I had a job like this for the rest of my life, I will wake up in the morning excited to go to work. That’s what is important to me, doing what I love.”

“It Doesn’t Come Easy” Senior Conner Sibley did not expect a sudden change in career paths

Things took an unexpected turn when Conner Sibley had his fifth concussion during football practice at Auburn. For the senior, it was a turn that would change his career.

Since he was four years old, Sibley dreamed of playing football for the Tigers.

“I was a preferred walk on out of high school,” Sibley said. “I moved here [Auburn] to work for a year and get in-state tuition, then walked on after that first year. So that whole first year made it mean even more to me because I was having to work even harder to gain weight so I could play again. In a lot of ways, it was a dream come true because I wanted to be here since I was a little kid, but it was still a lot of hard work.”

But his dreams were cut short in the fall of his junior year. Sibley dressed out for the first six football games, then had two concussions during practice which forced him to sit out for the rest of the season.

When he returned to the field for spring training, Sibley was encouraged by his performance. Practice continued to go well into the fall; he even earned a starting position for special teams.

“I was really excited for the season to come,” Sibley said.

His health was finally consistent, but another unexpected concussion changed his hopes for a season of success.

“After the concussion, I went to the neurologists and he told me I could not play football anymore. At first, it was very shocking, but I kind of knew that going into it. I knew if I had another one they would say I couldn’t play anymore.”

“In that moment, it felt like everything I had worked for since I was four years old was taken from me and there was nothing I could do about it.”

Sibley kept his hopes high, surrounded himself with encouragement, and tried to stay positive during his transition from being an athlete to a regular student. While he was looking for things to occupy his time, his love for music developed.

“In a way, it was an answer to prayer because I had been wanting to chase music a lot more,” Sibley said. “I wanted to see what that looked like for the first time without sports consuming my life.”

It was time for a new chapter in his life.

“So I started making music,” Sibley said.

“I did an internship with a studio where I produced the Backstreet Boys new album,” Sibley said. “That was my first step into the music world on a large scale. Ever since that I’ve just personally been making a lot of music on my own, seeing what that looks like and learning more of what kind of music I like and what works best for me.”

Sibley found a way to make an unexpected change in his career encourage his other passions. He explored options and outlets, but for him music was the answer. Now, he has completely redirected his career path.

“My dream it to make my career out of music,” Sibley said. “It is what I love doing. If I got to do music every day for the rest of my life, that would be a dream come true for me.”

What he thought was the end of one dream ended up opening the door to another. But Sibley has not left football completely in the past, he still carries the life-lessons of hard work and determination with him.

“All of the friends I have made have pushed me to be better, even in football,” Sibley said. “You carry this mindset as an athlete that it’s not going to be easy, ever. If you are going to have anything good happen, you are going to have to work hard. Football showed me what it looks like to work hard and dedicate all of your time to something to make it happen. So, I have lots of takeaways from being an athlete for so long that now with music, or even anything I do, I go into it with the mindset of knowing it’s not going to come easy.”

Even though a fifth concussion was never in his plans, Sibley now sees it as an opportunity to pursue other interests. A life-changing injury turned out to be his most disguised blessing.

“At the end of the day, I’m honestly thankful for it. I feel like I got to experience what I wanted to with football. I did it and gave it my all.”

“I’ve Just Really Learned What It Means to Chase Your Dreams”

Choosing a major your freshman year is not easy. With over 175 degrees offered at Auburn, sometimes the choice can seem impossible. Some stay undecided, some pursue Interdisciplinary Studies, some evens settle in a program that does not fit their career interests.

For senior Noelle Petty, choosing one degree was difficult and overwhelming. But she did not find the difficulty in finding one she enjoys, rather choosing only one major. Her interests go far beyond one area of study.

Petty initially chose to dual major, but found the required classes to be overbearing.

“Coming in as a freshman I was a dual major in marketing and graphic design and it was really difficult,” Petty said. “It just wasn’t really possible. So, I took a semester off of design and focused on marketing.”

Though she was frustrated that her decision to double major was not the best fit, Petty did not give up. She found a way to combine her interests in an academic program that was more manageable, and would allow her to graduate on time. Her double major in Marketing and Graphic Design became a single Marketing major and double minor in Studio Art and Non-Profit and Philanthropic Studies.

“I’m in Marketing because I feel like there is a big potential in marketing to communicate and to help bind ideologies and buy into different products,” Petty said. “There is a lot of power in learning how to persuade people in a constructive way and I’m interested in the psychological aspect of that.”

Her double minor is where she finds her creative outlet.

“I really like the studio art program in the school of Liberal Arts, because I feel like I teaches more of the creative side of marketing,” Petty said. “It focuses more on advertising for me that I would not have been able to do otherwise, like content creation. I feel very able to go into an ad agency and be able to fulfill those jobs in a variety of ways. As far as non-profit, I’ve always had a heart for it and been interested in it. It has some of the best classes I’ve taken at Auburn. I feel like I will be able to run campaigns for social issues and be able to leverage change through my skill set.”

Petty has also set herself apart from other students by taking her passions outside of the classroom.

“I’ve interned with Cottonseed studios in Opelika since the spring of my Sophomore year, so two years,” Petty said. “I’ve just really been able to apply what I’ve learned there. I get to run their social media, create posters and content, and help run events. It has given me a lot of inspiration about my own life and what I want to do.”


Cottonseed Studios is an Arts and Entertainment venue in Opelika, Alabama that often hosts popular music artists and local art festivals. They are artistic visionaries who aim to cultivate a creative community in the Opelika area. In order to do this, owners Richard Patton and Allison Kovak have purchased and renovated most of historical downtown Opelika and surrounding area. They celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, and support many local businesses.

Petty’s internship with Cottonseed has not only provided her with a way to put her education into practice, but has also inspired her own creative and entrepreneurial spirit. Last semester she helped start “Nourish, AL,” a non-profit organization that addresses food insecurity in the East Alabama area. Her passion for hunger studies led her to help others find hunger relief.

Though she did not choose one specific major, Petty has found a way to balance multiple interests through combining areas of study. Because she did not confine herself to one program at Auburn, she has been able to develop her skill set in a way that makes her feel well rounded and ready to enter the workplace.

“I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my degree,” Petty said, “but I know the skill set that I have acquired and the things I have learned in college and I feel like I can apply them in any setting. It doesn’t look like one specific job, but it does look like me as a person being well rounded.  I feel like having a holistic education that sees all sides of issues can help me go into the workplace as a global citizen. At the end of the day, I’ve just really learned what it means to chase your dreams.”


A Conversation of Change

For Jaeshon, involvement is not on his short list. Only a sophomore, Baldwin is a part of the Franklin Society, National Pharmacy Association, Pre-Pharmacy Club, and NAACP. He also serves as the Executive Treasurer of the Black Student Union.

As a freshman, Baldwin knew that that his influence could be a positive impact on campus, maybe even an impact that would open doors to social change. Involvement was his door to promoting that change.

Though the list of organizations and clubs is long, BSU has been the most important community to him, as well as his favorite.

The Black Student Union serves is a campus organization that serves to unite African American students, giving them a sense of community and comradery. Lead by students, the organization’s executive committee plans events and meets with the organization weekly to discuss current events and popular social topics.

For Baldwin, BSU was the perfect place to connect with other like-minded students his freshman year. He began on a freshman committee, then took the opportunity as soon as it was given to run for an executive position.

“BSU helped me fit in because I found a lot of people who related to me and that I was trying to get involved just like them,” Baldwin said. “Ever since then I’ve been trying to help other people get on the same path. If they don’t have anywhere to get involved then I say, ‘hey, come here, this is where I started.’”

But more than encouraging others to join BSU, Baldwin sets his mind on seeing change come to the Auburn student body. He sees his influence Executive Treasurer as one that will do a small part to begin that change.

“Being treasurer, of course I’m helping fund events,” he said. “Events promote conversation, and conversation promotes change. So, to be honest, I feel like helping to get these events started gets more conversations going, which promotes more change on Auburn’s campus.”

To Baldwin, change means community and begins with a simple conversation. He hopes to build that community through BSU events.

“People being friendlier on the concourse and more friendships being developed starts change. When I say change, I mean change as a more “family” vibe to the Auburn Family that we are all always preaching. If we really want to get it, I feel like positions that I am in are the starting places for that type of change.”

Practically, significant change will take time. But with time, there will be more diversity and inclusion, change in how students view and react to trending social issues, and less micro-aggressions among students. Unity among each other, when students act as a true Auburn Family, will create community will bring this change to campus.

“Change is always necessary because we as humans evolve all the time,” Baldwin said, “and our ideals evolve as well. I believe that if we allow ourselves to evolve along with those, that we can always continue to be a little bit more loving on one another. We can continue to shake hands a little more. We can always agree to be a “family,” as we would say.”

Baldwin keeps his eyes set on his dreams of social change. Though he is only one student, he sees an opportunity do his part in promoting unity on Auburn’s campus.