Tag Archive | "school of communication"

Cosford Cinema Kicks Off Fall Semester in 3-D

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Cosford Cinema Kicks Off Fall Semester in 3-D

The Cosford Cinema screened The Lego Movie, it's first 3-D film, last week.

The Cosford Cinema screened The Lego Movie, it’s first 3-D film, last week.

By Megan M. Ondrizek
UM News

GABLES, Fla. (September 5, 2014)­—Screening the first 3-D film shown on campus, The Lego Movie, last week, the Bill Cosford Cinema inaugurated the ambitious technology upgrades the Division of Student Affairs, in partnership with the School of Communication and the student Cinematic Arts Commission (CAC), completed over the summer.

“This technological upgrade for the Bill Cosford Cinema is terrific and timely for the University of Miami,” said Patricia A. Whitely, UM’s vice president for student affairs, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the Cosford’s new BARCO digital cinema projectors and Dolby 3D system. “This new cinema system will allow us to not only screen movies in high-definition and 3-D, but also allow the opportunity to offer even more ‘sneak-peek’ films on our campus.”

Student Robert Pinney, chair of the CAC, added that, “As the movie industry begins to shift from reels to a digital format, it is necessary for us to adapt to the changing environment. This projector puts us on the same level as the major movie theaters, such as AMC and Regal, in terms of our capability to show the latest movies and bring sneak previews to campus. Ultimately, all this is done so that CAC can keep providing quality entertainment to students on this campus.”

A full schedule of film screenings at the Bill Cosford Cinema can be found online.

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Make a Move: Professor’s Board Game Helps Young Immigrants Plot Their Futures


Make a Move: Professor’s Board Game Helps Young Immigrants Plot Their Futures

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Lien Trans teaches counselors how to play the board game she created or the young, unaccompanied, and undocumented immigrants who are streaming into the United States.

Lien Tran shows counselors how to play the board game she created for the young, unaccompanied, and undocumented immigrants who are streaming into the United States. (Photo by Han Chang)

MIAMI, Fla. (August 20, 2014)—Life in the United States for the thousands of young, unaccompanied, and undocumented immigrants who continue to arrive from Central America can be daunting. Many end up in detention centers where they must make legal decisions that will determine their future.

University of Miami School of Communication assistant professor Lien Tran has created a board game called Toma el Paso (Make a Move) to make their lives easier. It introduces them to the system for seeking approval to leave the shelter.  

Last Monday, Tran visited “His House Children’s Home” in Miami Gardens, where 166 children between 11 and 17 years of age reside, to train 20 resident counselors who work with the minors how to use the game.

“This is a good way to engage kids with complicated information,” said Tran. “You can play with the children at any time.”

Available in English and Spanish, the game was first introduced at the shelter in April as part of the Immigrant Children Affirmative Network (ICAN), a youth program developed by faculty and students in the School of Education and Human Development that has been used for seven years to promote resilience and hope among unaccompanied immigrant minors in South Florida. To date, dozens of the youngsters have played the game.

“Professor Tran has created a remarkable tool to help educate these youth and bring joy to their lives at the same time,” said Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research at the school and director of  ICAN. “Most of us would be overwhelmed if we had to deal with the complex legal and social challenges faced by unaccompanied immigrant minors in this country. This game turns the stress of figuring out the uncertain pathways that lie ahead for these kids into a fun opportunity to learn.”

The goal of the game, which up to six people can play at a time, is for participants to get out of the shelter, symbolized by reaching a yellow star. Tran developed the game with the help of an immigration lawyer in New York. The board resembles a juvenile detention facility with squares that players reach by rolling the dice. The squares represent a case manager, a lawyer, a phone, or the opportunity to get a specific card that provides information.

Meeting a case manager is one of the first goals.

“Let me meet with the case manager—that should be the name of the game,” said Israel, one of the counselors. “That’s what the kids want the most.”

Case managers are crucial because they help determine which of the three release options are open to the minors: reunification with a U.S. sponsor, federal foster care, or voluntary departure. Once players choose the option they intend to pursue, they are given color-coded cards with the requisites needed to achieve it.

For example, in order to be reunited with family members in the U.S., minors need proof of their sponsor’s relationship to them, fingerprints of the sponsor, and proof that the sponsor can financially support them.

The object is to collect enough cards to fill a submission packet and ultimately be released from the detention center.

The complexity of the legal process came as a surprise to Eddy, a 22-year-old FIU student who works with the detainees.

“This game helps us be more empathetic to their plight,” Eddy said. “We realize what they have to go through.”

Gina, a Haitian-American counselor who has worked with detainees for many years, said the game simplifies the legal process and can help minors cope with their situation.

“Many of the children are under a lot of stress,” she said. “Many come into this country escorted by strangers, and some are abused by these strangers. It is important for us to be vigilant to their needs and make sure they know that they are in a safe environment.”

More information on the game and how to order a copy is available at http://lienbtran.com/games/toma-el-paso/.

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Interactive Media’s ‘Zoo Rush’ Wins Good Gaming Award for Raising Sickle Cell Awareness

By Nancy M. Molina
Special to UM News


Designer Fan “Franklin” Zhang, a second-year MFA student in the Interactive Media program, works on the award-winning Zoo Rush game.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 25, 2014) – Collaborating with the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, student game developers in the School of Communication have created Zoo Rush, an award-winning adventure game that aims to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and reduce the stigma often associated with the painful inherited blood disorder that slows blood flow.

Representing the UM team, Zoo Rush developers Ebtissam “Ebby” Wahman and Fan “Franklin” Zhang brought the Silver Award in the Games for Good category back from the 2014 International Serious Play Awards held July 24 at the University of Southern California.

In the game, which can be played on the Web or by download to any Android or iOS device, players take on the role of a zookeeper with sickle cell disease who, on his or her first day on the job, faces a monumental challenge: All the animals escape.

The goal is for the player to capture each escaped animal before time runs out. Due to the zookeeper’s medical condition, the player must avoid infections, hydrate often, check in with their physician, and take their medication, such as hydroxyurea, the only FDA-approved medication for sickle cell disease.

Assistant Professor Clay Ewing, Zoo Rush’s project manager and game designer, said the Serious Play award validates the work of students and faculty in the School of Communication’s new Interactive Media program, who collaborated with Lanetta Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and president of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research, to build awareness about the disease that largely affects people who come from or whose ancestors came from parts of the world where malaria is or was common.

As Ewing notes, new programs must establish credibility, and the Serious Play Association’s recognition is a sign that the program is on the right path. He and the Zoo Rush team are particularly proud that the game is proving successful at increasing awareness of sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disorder of newborns in the U.S.

“My friend’s daughter downloaded the game and couldn’t stop playing,” Ewing said. “Later that night, she asked her dad about sickle cell disease. He didn’t know anything about it, so they spent the night finding out about it online. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do: Get a person engaged in an experience to the point where they begin seeking new knowledge on the topic and spreading the word.”

Wahman, who graduated from the UM College of Engineering’s electrical engineering program in 2012, had limited knowledge of sickle cell before taking part in the project. She said Zoo Rush was the first full game she developed and the experience helped her grow both as a developer and a person. “I feel honored that I was a part of such a project where I not only made a fun game, but also raised awareness about a disease that doesn’t get enough attention and affects millions of people around the world,” Wahman said.

Added Zoo Rush’s sound designer, Isabella Douzoglou, a motion picture and computer science major, “Increasing awareness through a fun medium is brilliant, especially when it’s for a good cause. It was a pleasure to be involved.”

Students from all majors at the School of Communication had the opportunity to test the game on various devices in an open playtest. They said the game gave them some insight on sickle cell disease and left them curious to learn more. The developers used this feedback to make adjustments to the game.

In sickle cell disease, red blood cells take on a sickle or crescent shape. Normal red blood cells are round and move through the blood vessels with ease, carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. Sickle-shaped blood cells often get stuck in blood vessel passageways, slowing down blood flow and preventing oxygen from reaching certain parts of the body. This can cause severe pain and other serious problems, such as infection, anemia, and stroke.

As Jordan notes, the transition from pediatric to adult care in young adults with sickle cell disease is becoming a major public health issue. Studies show that young adults transitioning to adult medical care are at a much higher risk for early death, especially shortly after leaving pediatric care. For some, the shift away from pediatric services results in the loss of an established primary medical home or access to health insurance.

In addition, Jordan said, these young adults are especially at risk of suffering from complex psychosocial issues due to stigmatization, the process of identifying an attribute and associating it with a stereotype that negatively labels a person or group.

Children and adolescents with sickle cell often experience low self-esteem or embarrassment. Pain is one of the most stigmatizing aspects of the disease, which often requires treatment with opioids.  As a result, Jordan said, up to 80 percent of young adults and adults with sickle cell disease choose to manage their pain at home. Zoo Rush developers hope to reduce this number by targeting young adults in the sickle cell community and influencing the way people perceive the disease.

For more information, visit Zoo Rush and the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research.

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Places & Spaces Will Change How People See the World

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Places & Spaces Will Change How People See the World

By Annette Gallagher
UM News


Created by cartographer and designer John Nelson, this map visualizes more than 160 years of recorded tropical storms and hurricanes by their paths and intensities, sourced from NOAA archives made available to the public.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 4, 2014) — Who really matters in the world? Where do people who hold U.S.  patents really live? Where and how intense have hurricanes been since 1851? How did science fiction come to be? What are the “battle lines” between the left and right sides of the political spectrum? How are verses of the Bible related to one another? Answers to complex questions like these are beautifully visualized in Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, exhibiting at the University of Miami beginning September 4. Read the full story

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Faculty Senate Elects New Leaders


Tomas A. Salerno, M.D.


UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 7, 2014)—Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., vice chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and chief of cardiothoracic surgery, was elected chair of the Faculty Senate for a one-year term beginning June 1. Salerno, who joined the Miller School faculty in 1999, will succeed Richard Williamson, a professor at the School of Law who stepped down after five terms as chair.

Linda L. Neider, professor in the School of Business Administration who initially began serving in the Senate shortly after joining the UM faculty in 1979, was elected first-vice chair. Sam Terilli, a veteran media lawyer who joined the School of Communication faculty in 2003, was elected to his second term as second vice chair.

Salerno, who has served in the Faculty Senate since 2008, most recently as first vice chair, said he looks forward to uniting faculty from all schools, representing their views, goals and dreams, and promoting their well-being.

Linda L. Neider

Linda L. Neider

“I have been involved in many aspects of faculty life, and in many Senate committees, including Promotion, Personnel and General Welfare, and the Medical School Council, and have most enjoyed interacting with University scholars, and the leadership of the University and the different schools,” Salerno said. “I have been inspired by the legacies of previous Senate chairs, and in this new role, I will do my best to represent faculty, make sure that their voice is heard, and be a strong leader in these challenging times.”

Neider, an expert in leadership and human resources, has served in a variety of administrative roles over the past three decades, including more than 20 years as chair of the School of Business Administration’s Department of Management, and several years as a vice dean. During her Senate service, she has chaired or been a member of a number of  committees, including Academic Standards, Budget and Compensation, Student Affairs, Professional Conduct, and Women and Minorities.

Sam Terilli

Sam Terilli

Terilli, who practiced media, commercial and employment law for 30 years, including 12 years as general counsel of the Miami Herald Publishing Company, is the incoming chair of the School of Communication’s Department of Journalism and Media Management. In the Senate, he chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on the Miller School of Medicine, and previously chaired two other Senate ad hoc committees—one on the Internal Review Board and the other on revising the rules for early evaluations of deans and other administrators. He also chaired the Administrative Services Committee, and served as a member of the Committee on Professional Conduct and as an academic counsel for faculty.




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