Real World Experience Makes a Difference

Who knew that there could be so many types of hot dog equipment? That’s what I asked myself when I began writing a buying guide for the WebstaurantStore with classmates from my Advanced Public Relations class. Working with the WebstaurantStore was such a great opportunity to gain real world experience and learn about the foodservice industry.

With any PR project it’s important to meet with the client before starting the project. Our class met with the Smallwares Content Manager, Mike Good and the Digital Media Director, Emily Smith. Through this meeting we were able to learn about Clark Associates, Inc. and how the WebstaurantStore started. We also learned a little more about the project we would complete for Web. Mike and Emily explained that buying guides serve as a tool to inform customers about a specific topic within the foodservice industry; the guides help customers make informed purchasing decisions. Our clients also went through the key components of a good buying guide and then we got to choose our topic for the guide. My classmates and I decided on writing a buying guide about hot dog equipment.

After the meeting, my class had a good idea of where our project was going. However, we were a little worried about actually writing the guide. We knew nothing about hot dog equipment or how it fits into the foodservice industry. It didn’t take us too long to learn about the different types of hot dog equipment and uses. Through research we were able to get a better idea of what the content for the guide would look like. From here we began to create our outline for the project. After our outline was approved we began to write the buying guide. It was crucial for us to include SEO keywords related to hotdog equipment throughout the guide so that the guide would rank in organic search results.

Our buying guide went through three major revisions before we moved into actually adding content to the website. The review process was a great way for me to receive feedback on my writing from individuals currently in the field of writing and communications. After our content was approved my class had the opportunity to “build” our buying guide on the back end of Webstaurantstore’s website. This process helped me gain valuable lessons in HTML and proper layout design.

I’m proud to say that our Hot Dog Equipment Buying Guide is now published on Webstaurantstore’s website. Working with an actual client made publishing my writing a reality. It’s a great feeling to know that my writing will directly affect purchasing decisions of restaurant owners and other foodservice companies all over the world. This project also led me to a content internship with WebstaurantStore. Now I get to write great content every day with a great team! If you are looking for great real world experience, consider applying for an internship or job at WebstaurantStore. We would love to have you!

Elizabethtown College tells “Rats’ Tales” to Audiences of All Ages

If you ever attended your local library’s Children’s Story Time, you’ve seen Elizabethtown College’s production of “Rats’ Tales.” The one-act play features student actors going over the top to act out stories and often narrate themselves in over-the-top ways. The show is advertised for ages nine to 99, and coming after productions of Shakespeare and “Spring Awakening,” is something relatively new for Etown’s Fine and Performing Arts Department. But that is easy to forget, as “Rats’ Tales” is one of Etown’s most upbeat and entertaining production this year.

“Rats’ Tales,” written by Carol Ann Duffy and Melly Still, uses the well-known folktale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin as a frame story. When the Pied Piper takes the town’s children away, the parents cope by telling stories about childhood…and rats. Actors play multiple roles as citizens of Hamelin and characters in various stories.

Junior Tyler Rossi plays the Pied Piper and many other characters from a prince to a mysterious stranger, removing both the rats and the children from the town of Hamelin with his enchanting music. Overall, Rossi’s performances are the best of the show; he clearly has no problem making a fool of himself and makes each of his characters endearing in the few minutes he has to play them.

Another standout is the scene-stealing senior David Callahan, who high-knees his way through a story as Rossi’s butler, leaving the audience in stitches. Senior Katherine Campbell, in her final Etown show, is also notable, at one point playing a witch who comes into the audience. Even when she doesn’t change her acting much between stories and characters (which include a witch and a queen), it is easy to see that the stage is her happy place.

Also obviously happy to be performing is junior Anna Sorrentino, who unfortunately gives one of the less engaging performances of the night. She mostly goes through the motions, letting loose once while standing still during a story about a girl in a wooden dress. Junior Dante Sarracino, in his third Etown production, could also use some work; he shouts most of his lines and he’s usually angry, even when his characters are not.

Even though “Rats’ Tales” is a play, music is still used. Sophomore Sarah Lohrfink plays the flute, hitting a few noticeable wrong notes. Senior Suzie Al-Absi plays the guitar. I don’t know much about music, but to me these instruments could have blended together better. The actors’ singing was much better, as many of the actors have been in the school’s musicals. No song is ever longer than thirty seconds, starting with a hymn conveniently led by junior music major Francesca Artus in her first Etown production. Sorrentino sings the same rat-catching song Rossi sang in the play’s opening during a story in which she catches rats herself, uniting the stories and their frame.

The show features an intricate use of shadow work. Artus’s shadow is hilarious as a horse that’s obviously a human behind a screen, but the all-ages audience buys it. The rat cutouts are obviously on sticks, which is fine, but sometimes one could see the shadows of the hands controlling those rats, which is not fine. Still, the shadows were a fun and unique addition to the production, and techniques like one shadow growing while another shrinks perplexed the audience.

Most of the sound effects were generated by the actors themselves, including rats scurrying on the floor (actors crouching and tapping the ground). The actors also created some of the props using their bodies; Campbell mimes a pair of scissors by bending and swinging her arms together while saying “SNAP!”.

The sets required audiences to use their imaginations, as the stage was usually nearly bare, contributing to the story-time vibe. The same half-dozen benches, ladders and pieces of fabric were used over and over to make kitchens, staircases, rivers and even a fire.

Campbell and junior Tasha Lewis oversaw costumes. With actors playing so many characters in such a short time, the costumes had to be and were versatile. Senior Amber Mangabat begins the play as a cook and plays another one later, but this is a very different cook than the first one; her apron is tied to cover just her waist. Under Campbell’s witch cloak is the same dress she’s worn the whole show. Sorrentino wears the most story-specific piece; instead of wearing the four separate dresses her character does, her skirt is divided into four sections and she spins it when she needs a different dress.

Despite its simple theatrical elements, “Rats’ Tales” is an imaginative production. Director Terri Mastrobuono, adjunct professor of theatre, has created a production absorbing and genuinely entertaining enough that the audience can simply imagine any flubs away. In conclusion, no story is perfect, and “Rats’ Tales” is no exception, but the actors (and therefore the audience) get so into it that most subpar elements vanish as easily as those pesky rats.

Humans of Etown: Sarah Hasenauer

Sarah enjoying the sunshine on campus.

Sarah Hasenauer, a first year student majoring in occupational therapy (OT), has settled in nicely at Elizabethtown College. Like most high school juniors and senior, Sarah was right there with them, stressing and struggling to find the right college to spend her next four years. After going through the painful application process and committing, Sarah couldn’t be happier.

Etown’s appeal

“I chose Etown because, as cheesy as it sounds, it felt like home the moment I stepped foot on campus” Sarah said.

After numerous emotionless tours of different colleges, Sarah was pleased to finally feel that thing that everyone talks about, the “home away from home appeal.” She was drawn to the personalities of the students; everyone was so welcoming and she could see that people actually cared about each other, not simply putting on the “welcome to our campus” façade that she felt at the other colleges she looked at. There was also a huge limiting factor for which schools she could look at: her major. There are only a few schools in Pennsylvania that offer OT, let alone a fifth year program that doesn’t require an application for the fifth year. The combination of personal touch and education made coming to Etown an easy decision for her.

Major choices

As a high schooler, Sarah struggled to find what she wanted to major in. She felt the pressure building as college became closer, but couldn’t find what she wanted to commit to. Physical therapy seemed to have some of the aspects Sarah enjoyed, like helping people heal and improving their lives, but she cringed at the thought of having to inflict pain on patients. In order to stay in rehabilitation services, Sarah looked into OT. With college application deadlines approaching, she warily declared OT as her major. Looking into it more, she organized an internship with the occupational therapist in her school district.

“I’d spend two hours every morning with her and would help with some of the planning and grading. This is when I fell in love with OT and I knew I chose the right major” Sarah said.

Life at Etown

When taking a break from studying for biology or her other OT courses, Sarah is usually off at dance practice. In her first semester, Sarah performed in a variety of dances at the Emotion Showcase. This semester, she has taken on the lead as a choreographer of her own dance to “Praying” by Kesha. She is excited to perform next Thursday and Friday at the showcase.

She is also a member of the dance team and just elected treasurer for next year.

“I love dance! It is a great way to destress and forget about all my obligations for a while.”

An average day for Sarah consists of her going to class in the morning, working at the college bookstore, then going to dance. Free from her weekly obligations, Sarah tends to go home on the weekends. She knows that her family are always up to something, and doesn’t want to miss out.

Sarah is excited for her coming years at Etown, but coming to the close of her second semester, she is realizing it is going by much faster than she would like.

Humans of Elizabethtown College

Kenneth Berkenstock




The Life of Olivia Mcintosh

From the soft unfamiliar face, the words laid the foundation describing this young woman’s life “My name is Olivia McIntosh and I am 19 years old.” This student at Elizabethantown has prevailed a lot in her short life, moving from persons to person impacting each one. Originally from Harlem, New York, Olivia’s life growing up was heavily influenced by the city scene that surrounded her. With her mother’s decision to move into the suburbs of northern New York, her life blossomed into many different, and new opportunities. by moving to the suburbs, olivia not only had more space to clear her thought but also found a love in running. by running everyday she was able to clear her thoughts and focus on her school work. With the beautiful countryside that surrounded her, and the wild animals all around she slowly became more intriguing and thoughtful over time. When discussing how she managed to decide what was best for the next chapter of her life, she stated “ I knew that my love of science would draw me to a school that could support my needs for taking me to the next level.” Her deep understanding of what needs to be done, took her to the next level at a young age easily sets her apart from her classmates. Not only does her wisdom of life allow her to approach it in such an ambitious way, she also has a very deep understanding of her own live and self worth. “ I am a person who walks the line between Introverted and Extroverted, in other words, Ambivalent. This balanced personality helps me be the great person who I believe I am.” The college life has only helped further shape her beliefs of life and what she should accomplish, it has helped her place value in the many friends that surround her. Talking to one of Olivia’s close friends, Kayla Patone stated, “Olivia’s true friendship from the start made me realize how somebody should truly treat you.” In less than a year Olivia has positively influenced those that have realized just how much of a  true friend and person she is. Though she may come across as a closed of isolated person, she does like to enjoy herself, “ I love hanging around people, enjoying large or small groups of company, I love outdoor activities and I love having something to do in general all the time.” although  Olivia loves her friends she does appreciate being alone with her own thoughts periodically, she feels that for one to truly understand themselves, personal reflection is the best approach. When asked to describe herself , she felt that “attentive, empathetic, compassionate, rough, strong-willed, stubborn, well-rounded, and open” all best summarize her personality and best quality. When asked why, her response was quite thoughtful she resonded with “These personal traits turn me into a person who is an Optimist, a Realist and also a Pessimist. They also turn me into a Liberal, someone who agrees with Democrats but also agrees with Republicans. The traits all represent that i am a  ambiguous person .” With asking Olivia how she feels about her life and whether or not she thinks that much has been accomplished, she had a very simple response. “I am an achiever and I’m a person who knows when to stop and when to go. I cannot tell you where I will go from here, but with the positivity I have brought along with me, I can tell you I have always put the best foot forward for the betterment of not just myself, but those that surround me.”

Humans of Etown: Stepf Diaz

Stepf Diaz [center] surrounded by her student workers at the Mosaic House. [photo taken December 2017]
Every friend group has the mom friend and every girl scout troop has its den mother. A large group of students here at Etown have a campus mom. Stepf Diaz, the coordinator of multicultural programming and residential communities, is in charge of the Mosaic House on campus. The Mosaic House is a safe space, being the home away from home for people of different races, sexualities, and whatever else. Stepf, in charge of it all, became like the mom away from mom for many students here.

Continue reading Humans of Etown: Stepf Diaz

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism