Teens + Tech

Technology has become an everyday staple in day-to-day life for the millennial (18-24 years-old) and Generation Z (13-17 years-old) generations. Many businesses are gearing their advertising campaigns towards social media. A 2011 Pew Research Center Study found that 95 percent of millennials own a cell phone. Cell phones are cool to teens, but not everything is. Using three research studies, Google conducted a survey of what’s cool among teenagers and millennials aged 13 to 24.

The survey, titled “It’s Lit; a guide to what teens think is cool”, seeks to give in insight into what is cool in the eyes of American teenagers. The findings report that technology reigns supreme as the coolest thing amongst Generation Z, with smartphones and Apple’s iOS platform as the coolest thing in technology. YouTube was ranked the coolest brand amongst Gen Z and millennials.

“I YouTube to listen to poetry and music a lot,” said Summer Durant, millennial junior psychology major at Georgetown University, as well as a participant in this year’s annual College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). “Sometimes, I’ll watch a few poems on the recommended list on the side [of the YouTube website],” said Durant.

Apple ranked as one of the coolest brands among both groups.

“I like iPhones for mostly aesthetic reasons, and I enjoy the cohesiveness between all Apple products,” said Nkechi Nwokorie, human science major also at Georgetown University. “I think iPhones are pretty and superior to any Android, plus the picture quality is amazing,” said Nwokorie.

Streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and Hulu are also among the most popular brands for both groups. Video and music streaming is a leisurely activity for many teenagers. “I pay for Apple Music but frequently use the free version of Spotify. I think Spotify’s interface is better for making playlists and discovering music, but Apple Music doesn’t have a free version,” says Nwokorie. “Apple Music also drops albums first sometimes. I started using it because Chance the Rapper’s third album was a restricted release for a bit,” she continued. Chance the Rapper, coincidentally, ranked among the coolest celebrities in the study. With new iPhones and Android phones releasing every year, new monthly releases on Netflix, and new albums on streaming services, one thing is for certain; technology is here to stay with teenagers.


ANC 2E February Meeting

ANC 2E held its monthly meeting this past Monday at Georgetown Visitation School. The talk of the evening was the transportation of DC, including the DC Metro system and the proposed streetcar and gondola lift in Georgetown. Councilmember Jack Evans reported that DC Metro spends $2 billion annually to maintain service of its metro system; another $1.2 billion are spent for yearly repairs. Evans serves as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue.

When asked about the proposed streetcar in Georgetown, Evans said, “I think it’s a terrible idea. We don’t have unlimited resources to do that.” Evans estimates that the proposed streetcar project would cost around $1 billion. “It’s going to cost $2.5 billion to encapsulate the tunnel of the Red Line, and another $3.5 billion to replace the cars to the 7000-series,” Evans said.

A proposed aerial gondola lift linking Georgetown to Rosslyn was also discussed. The project is headed by Joe Sternlieb, President and CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. The gondola will transport an estimated 3500 persons per hour per rush. Sternlieb reported that the financing had not yet been worked out, but it is projected that the project will cost $80-90 million. The project will not be funded with the help of Arlington. In a recent letter to the gondola study committee, Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Chair, wrote, “given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project.” Sternlieb hopes to continue to garner community support for the gondola.

Education was also a big topic of conversation. “If I could wave a magic wand and correct one thing, [it would be] our school system,” said Evans, the longest serving Councilmember in DC’s history. The District of Columbia has the highest dropout rate, the lowest reading and math scores, and also the lowest average SAT scores in the country, according to a 2016 study from WalletHub. On February 24th, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced over $6 million in new investments for middle and high school STEM and algebra courses in the District.

Black Students of Georgetown

Georgetown University has a longstanding tradition as one of the elite universities in the country. Located in Washington DC’s Georgetown neighborhood, Georgetown University, referred to as Georgetown, is ranked as the 20th best school in the country, according to rankings by U.S. News. Despite educating almost 18,000 students; only 6 percent of which are black or African American. These students understand the beauty and pain of being a black face in a white place.

“A lot of people are very affluent. Class is a big divider in Georgetown. I went to a private Catholic high school back home, so Georgetown is very similar,” said Esther Owolabi, a 2015 graduate of Georgetown University’s Georgetown College where she majored in Government. Owolabi attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL. Coincidentally, only 6 percent of Fenwick’s student population is black; similar to Georgetown’s.

Owolabi sensed a disconnect between the black students and their white classmates. During her time at Georgetown, Owolabi worked on the Last Campaign for Reform, a campaign that sought to add a diversity requirement to the core curriculum for all Georgetown students. This requirement would allow and encourage discussion amongst the students about topics such as racism, gender and gender ability, and ableism. Georgetown’s Main Campus Executive Faculty voted in favor of the requirement in April 2015. “After years of tireless student activism, I am proud of Georgetown for taking this monumental step to creating a more inclusive and aware community,” said Owolabi in an April 2015 article in Georgetown’s student newspaper, The Hoya.

The demographics at Georgetown aren’t familiar territory for everyone. “It was definitely a culture shock. I went to a predominately-black and Hispanic high school,” said Georgino Joasil, third-year student at Georgetown where he is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Justice and Peace studies. Joasil, of Long Island, NY, is the son of Haitian immigrants. “I’m thankful for it, because I had not been in such environments,” said Joasil.

On campus, Joasil serves as Vice President of the Caribbean Culture Circle, a club that provides Caribbean events to its students. In the spring of 2016, Joasil became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Nu Beta Chapter. Joasil also serves as a resident of The Black House, a safe-space that fosters community for students of color.

“I’m very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I wouldn’t say I would change this or that, because I don’t know where it would’ve put me,” Joasil continued. “With the programs and organizations I’m a part of, I was able to find my blackness in a space that wasn’t geared toward it,” said Joasil.

Though they may be outnumbered by their white counterparts, black students at Georgetown do have fostering environments available to them. Georgetown is home to The Center for Multicultural Equity & Access (CMEA), an on-campus support system for students of color. CMEA provides mentoring and academic support for Georgetown’s minority students. You can read more about CMEA and all its programs and services here.

Data Visualization in News Stories

The New York Times June 2016 article “A Weekend in Chicago” does a great job of data visualization. The article profiles 2016 Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago where, unfortunately, 64 people were shot. There are videos and pictures that have accounts from the Chicago Police Department, as well as local residents and victims and their families. Also, there are interactive maps and charts that profile the city and its shootings. As a Chicago native, I think the city is accurately represented with this article’s use of data and media.


The Chicago Tribune’s March 2017 article “Chicago’s history as a sanctuary city” makes a great use of data. The article profiles, as the title states, Chicago’s history as a sanctuary city. The article uses a linear timeline, complete with dates and pictures, to tell the history of 30 years prior to the present.


The Washington Post’s April 2017 article “Teens think Axe body spray is cooler than ESPN, McDonald’s or Vice” shows an graph of a survey given to teens. There’s only one graph with the article, but it looks “cool” because the points are color-coordinated. The font on the graph is appealing to easy-going, young people like myself.

Photos and Lighting

I’ve been learning about different lighting and camera techniques in my various classes this semester. In this age of smartphones, it’s easy for one to say they know photography. However, many fail to realize what all goes into capturing the perfect shot, the perfect moment. Our smartphones can correct and edit pictures quicker than we can say cheese; technology is amazing. Here are a few sample shots of my favorite subjects: cars! None of the photos presented have been edited or altered in any way. All photos were taken on my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

1975 Chevrolet Impala Custom, colloquially known as a “glass house” due to its large windows and windshield. This is one of my favorite photos I’ve taken. I think the composition of the photo is wonderful. The primer paint of the Impala complements the street, as the Bondo filler on the doors complements the brick of the building behind it. The shadows of the Impala are parallel with the shadows of the building that’s out of frame. This photo was taken at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
BMW e30 318is, one of my favorite BMWs. This particular one is a Euro-spec model, meaning it was imported by a private individual from Europe. This is evident by the right-hand drive configuration.  The photo has a yellowish tint due to the incandescent street lamps, but the subject is still in focus. This photo was taken at 11 o’clock at night.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette. This photo was taken in a garage during a rainstorm. The lighting is very dim. There is a faint overhead lamp providing the primary source of light. There isn’t much natural light due to the clouds, as you can see in the garage windows.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air with Cragar SS wheels. This photo was taken in an underground parking garage. The lighting was very poor. It would be very hard to get a good shot of the Bel Air because of the overhead light. The light gives off shadows at every angle.
BMW F80 M3. This model is in Yas Marina Blue, a very light and vibrant blue. The color is barely seen. The only light source is the street lamp in the background. We can still see the subject, but the glare of the light makes the M3 a little fuzzy and out of focus. This photo was taken at 9 o’clock in the evening.
BMW F82 M4. This Bimmer is painted Silverstone Metallic, and we can see it clearly. This day was cloudy, but still had a pretty good natural light. The subject is very sharp. This photo was taken at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

The Huffington Post’s Black Voices

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.54.51 AM.pngThe Huffington Post’s website has a section entitled Black Voices, an aggregate of news articles and commentary from various reporters that are geared to African-Americans. What makes this blog so compelling is that it tackles topics and issues that many mainstream media, including HuffingtonPost.com’s homepage, usually don’t cover adequately or at all. Black Voices has a Twitter and Facebook page, both of which are actively updated. Its social media is used to mostly promote their new articles. However, their Twitter also tweets and retweets those with commentary on events, so to speak, in the African-American community, such as BET’s premiere of The New Edition Story last night. Black Voices is updated daily with new news stories and commentary. There isn’t a bio or “About Us” page for Black Voices, but the bio of each respective writer is presented at the end of each article. What I would take from Black Voices is their website layout. Each article is presented in bold black titles that really catch your eye. Most articles include a picture as well.

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is a historic neighborhood in D.C.’s Ward 2. Dupont Circle was originally named Pacific Circle by city planner Charles L’Enfant. Dupont Circle was renamed in 1882 after US Congress authorized a memorial statue of Samuel Francis Du Pont, a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War. The Dupont Circle Historic District was established in 1978. Dupont Circle is primarily historic for its Romanesque row houses. Dupont Circle is bounded by T St NW on the north; 16th St NW on the east; Rhode Island Avenue NW, M St NW on the south; and Florida Avenue NW on the north. There are roughly 5,400 residents live Dupont Circle, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Dupont Circle is the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B. Their meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Dupont Circle Fountain, located at the center of Dupont Circle.

Dupont Circle is a station on the DC Metro’s Red Line. It is one of the Metro’s busiest stations. The station is walking distance to various shops, as well as FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market, a first-place Best of D.C. “Best Farmers Market 2016” winner. Other local businesses include Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, an independent bookstore and café that has late-night hours, and fashion stores such as Brooks Brothers and Lou Lou. Beginning at Dupont Circle is Embassy Row, a four-block long stretch of many foreign U.S. embassies along Massachusetts Ave NW.


Multimedia Storytelling

During my second semester of my junior year, I was enrolled in Multimedia Storytelling, a three-credit journalism course taught in Howard University’s School of Communications. It is taught by Associate Professor Mark Beckford. I knew the course is going to be demanding, but it was manageable. My main goal for this course was to become a better writer. I can talk about many things, but I can’t write about nearly as much. I’m primarily an auditory learner, and that is evident with my speaking and writing abilities, as I am a much better speaker than I am writer. I enjoyed learning the formalities of journalism and exploring D.C.’s Ward 2.

Check out my articles below!