Amber is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She is originally from Plattsburgh, New York and has lived in Hawaii for the past fifteen years. Amber also speaks english and spanish. She worked as a features writer and associate opinions editor for Ka Leo O Hawai’i at UH Manoa, and currently writes for the International Mission Board Hawaii chapter. Amber has had many articles published both online and in print. She is has interned for KHON 2 News and is currently interning at HGTV, a local Hawaii production company. She has worked as a graphic designer and videographer for Ho’a Oahu and producer for a biannual television news show known as UHMTV. She is also proficient in Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, and Audacity. She has traveled to Eastern Europe’s Serbia, several countries in the Middle East and fortynine states in the Continental U.S. Through her travels she has developed a love for different cultures, people and film. Her travels have prompted her to pursuer a career in documentary filmmaking with a focus on social barriers and cultural differences. She hopes to create inspire viewers to contribute their voices to larger issues within their community. With her free time Amber enjoys knitting, cooking, relaxing afternoons at the park with her family and eating at her favorite restaurant, 7-11.
By Amber Khan
To most, he is known as the man who wears a black suit and walks around campus carrying plastic bags, but there is much more to Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry. Petry is easily recognized as a figure on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. He can be seen at any time of the day walking along Wilder Street or University Avenue. Many students are intrigued by his presence. “He’s a mystery, I want to know whats in his bags and I think he might be homeless,” said Kainoa Gruspe, an Art student at UH Manoa. Petry certainly does give the impression of being homeless with his appearance, but there is a good deal more to him than his appearance. Petry is a student of UH Manoa’s Senior Citizen Visitor program. This program allows senior citizens over the age of 60 to attend classes on campus free of charge. No credit is received for their attendance or work, but the students gain knowledge and skills for the world today. He has been a participant of the program for over 10 years and has taken hundreds of classes which vary from politics to the evolution of the universe to calculus. As a student, Petry is currently enrolled in five classes this semester, some of which include Cosmology 427 and Stellar Interiors and Evolution 623. He continues to pursue his education as a daily task and maintains his personal research concerning theories of religion, science and astrophysics. Petry has written several articles that have been self published. Project Lambhorn, project Nemo, subproject Lanthus and subproject Sesquatercet are among the some of the article compilations he has written and published. “One can develop a certain amount of expertise in certain fields,” said Petry. “The overall picture would be a well rounded student that can ask the right questions.” Petry comes in Sinclair Library almost every night, says Imai Chock, a Student Assistant at the Student Services Center in Sinclair Library. “He’s got some wild theories,” says Jeffery “Kapali” Lyon, assistant professor in the Department of Religion.
She sees him come in very late and go to the computer lab, where he wipes the computer down with a napkin, takes his shoes off and puts slippers on. He stays on the computer for hours, he’s not a typical homeless man, says Chock.
“He hinted at them in class, and then after class he regularly followed me back here and then sometimes for an hour or more we would talk about his theories.” Petry has taken both Hebrew and Prophecies of the Last Days from Lyon. “He has a boundless energy for work and research,” said Lyon. For fun, Petry enjoys screen writing, commenting on youtube videos, and following political issues. Political issues are almost fantasies, said Petry. I enjoy writing political articles because they are different ways of thinking. Petry was born in Pennsylvania where he attended preschool for a short amount of time. His family moved to southern California, while he was entering kindergarden. As a high school student he was very interested in mathematics and sciences. He regularly kept track of all things related to space exploration and found the moon landing inspirational. “That was kind of a nice cap for high school,” said Petry. After graduating high school in 1969, Petry attended the University of California, San Diego, and got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics in 1973. He has considered going back to college for a graduate degree many times, but has found it difficult to focus on one subject area. During the 1970s, Petry worked with stealth satellites and engineering and later worked for the technology company Linkabet, which subsequently became L-3 Communications. When he found the principles of Linkabet changed, he left the company. He briefly traveled around the states to visit family before arriving in Hawaii in 1982 and has been walking the streets of Honolulu since.
Take Womersley’s class served with a joke on top
By Amber Khan
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa professor, Chris Womersly has been known for doing things rather differently. Originally from the North of England and Scotland, he has been working in the states since 1980 and at UH Manoa for the past 30 years. When Sean Wilbur, a Ph.D. student that works as a teaching assistant for Womersley’s Zoology 101 class, walked into a meeting to go over the class amid Womersley and other TAs, he had an idea of what the meeting would be about. It turned out that he didn’t have a clue. Rather than doing anything academic, the meeting was composed of the TAs hunching over an electric cart that Womersley needed fixing, for 6 hours. His research has taken him all over the world, from Arizona to Papua New Guinea to Canada to different parts of Europe and he hopes that one day it will bring him to different parts of Asia, he said.
Womersley’s research focuses on physiological ecology/adaptive biochemistry, dehydration and freezing stress and biological control. In other words, Womersley is really smart. His sense of humor, and vibrant personality make him a professor that any student would remember, said Steven Robinow, a professor in the Zoology department who has known Womersley for 19 years. “He is funny, very humorous,” said Robert Paull, a friend of 25 years, and professor and researcher in the department of tropical plant and soil sciences. “I know a number of students who have taken his class and liked him very much.” “I think his lessons are quite relatable to real life, and the topics relate to the students,” said Ambrose Lee, a UH Mānoa junior currently enrolled in Womersley’s Zoology 101 class. “He gives out a humorous feeling during the lectures that everyone understands.” “I met him during my first teacher’s assisting job, and I saw him around the zoology department as an undergrad,” said Wilbur. “I thought he was slightly eccentric. I don’t know if it was the British accent or just the way he was lecturing,” he said. “He just comes across to me as one of those brilliant eccentrics, like Einstein. When he teaches, he goes off on tangents and tells quirky stories, some of them connect and some of them don’t, but that’s the memory, thats how the students remember the hard facts, he mixes in a little bit of fun,” said Wilbur. “He is not only a great teacher and researcher, he’s also very down to earth,” said Wilbur. “He has been a huge influence on me as well. I came into grad school knowing that mentoring and teaching were a big part of it, but research is what brought me here. Meeting Chris and working with him, has kind of changed my outlook on that, its not just something I do on the side, teaching has become very important to me. I find the undergrad education part of my job very valuable and its a lot more rewarding when working with someone who is so passionate about it and actually cares,” said Wilbur. Robinow has found Womersley to be a role model, by helping him appreciate faculty, staff and students, he said. “Chris is very appreciative of the people around him, and he helped me recognize the importance of that,” said Robinow. Whilst being a passionate teacher, Womersley has a knack for getting into trouble, said Paull as he recalls a fond memory of him. For the last 28 years Womersley has been involved with the annual luau held for UH Mānoa faculty, said Paull. “So we get 60 gallons of beer and a big pig you know,” he said. “It was around the first or second luau when Chris said, ‘Yea I’ll come out on Friday and I’ll help you dig the imu pit.’ We all arrived around 8 a.m. and Chris wasn’t there. We did some shoveling, but not very much. Then we went and got a friend in Waimanalu who we knew had a back hoe, and got him to dig the pit. Then Chris shows up after it’s finished and goes, ‘Oh my God,’ and jumps in and grabs a shovel and throwing out rocks, it was only after that, that he saw the tractor marks and realized how stupid he had been.” “Most of my experiences with Chris have been on campus,” said Robinow.
“We’ve had lots of experiences together, and a number of difficult situations, but Chris was always focused on the students. In every issue, he always gave a student centered solution.” However, as a young boy, Womersley was not the gifted, witty professor he is today, he said. “I was educationally subnormal,” he said. “I didn’t pass an exam in my life till I was 14 years old. I couldn’t speak even when I was 4, couldn’t spell my name till I was 11.” Being brought up in a strict, military-like house Womersley recalls how he often escaped it though his hobbies. “No one seemed to really bother about me not being good academically, they just accepted it, and so I went fishing,” he said. “My brother and sister were favored because they showed aptitude, so I was just left alone.” But when he turned 14, things began to change. “By about 14 things just clicked, I can’t explain it,” he said. “It happened within the space of weeks. I went from being nothing to acing everything. It became a natural thing. Its like my brain just fused together and decided to work.” He remembers being better in art, geography and history in school. “I would rather of been an artist,” he said. “But I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed what I have done, because I remember what it was like when I couldn’t do anything. So I’m happy, and I still get to do my art.” When Womersly was 16, he left home and work in the ship yards and continued his education. He was an independent individual, he said. “I love my parents and all, but when I left to carry on in education, which no one could believe I was going to do, most of them turned their backs on me and wouldn’t speak to me anymore,” he said. “They told me I had gone beyond my station in life and I was doing things I shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “I think that half the time they were scared I was gonna fail and that it was gonna reflect on them. But I didn’t.” Today, Womersley’s twin brother seems to be the only one who understands him and is very proud of his accomplishments, said Womersley. Womersley uses his experiences to encourage his students and understand them better. “I just followed it,” he said. “The one thing I’m always telling my students when they ask me is, stop sweating the small stuff, just keep doing well and it will all turn out, it’s in the scheme of things.” “It’s not really changed me a lot,” he said. “It actually gets me into a lot of trouble. I’m still a very down to earth kind of guy, and normally in academia, that doesn’t work. But it works for me, it upsets a lot of people, but it does work for me.” Womersley still remains the same person he was all those years ago even amid his academic success, and continues to find the humor in the little things.
Technology destroys vacations
By Amber Khan
I have been traveling on vacation for the past month and a half. Yosemite, Arches, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park are among some of the places I will never forget visiting. Or will I? While trying to see what these parks had to offer, I found myself juggling two cameras, a phone and a laptop. Slowly, as time went by, the use of technology ruined my vacation. At the beginning of my trip, I took pictures and video everyday and posted them to social media. I didn’t think much of it. “This is a cool thing I’m doing, everyone I know should see how great this place is and how awesome I am for being here.” Let’s be honest, who doesn’t think that when traveling? When we’re with our smartphones on the road, we want to Instagram and Snapchat our experiences.
My five friends and I were traveling for about a week when something upsetting happened. We arrived in Redwood National Park and everyone got out of the car. Before anyone even said an “Ooh,” or “Ah,” I saw five cameras block my friends’ faces. I made a comment about the trees but I was shushed. They were taking pictures and trying to find Wi-Fi to post them. It was a time sensitive process that shouldn’t be interrupted. This made me think, why do we vacation? I’m sure there are many answers out there. I vacation to spend time with people I love in places I love. This time, however, one of those components was missing. I was where I wanted to be, but the people I wanted to be with were preoccupied with their cameras and phones. I’m guilty of it as well. I was in a beautiful place, but I still felt the constant weight of my cameras and computer pulling me down. My mind would go to the best shot, then to which app I would use to edit it, then to finding Wi-Fi. My computer would pull me back to daily emails about financial aid, work, classes and bills. I was never fully present in the place I was in. It was exhausting.
According to a 2013 online Tech Timeout survey presented by Foresters, a financial services company that had a challenge to unplug from technology, 47 percent of North American parents think that technology “ruins family vacationing.” The more time I saw my self spending with technology, I enjoyed myself less and less. When I realized that, I declared a war. I vowed to post zero pictures online while I was still on vacation. This was my vacation, and I was taking it back. The definition of vacation according the online Meriam-Webster dictionary, “a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.” According to this definition, I was not on vacation. If your definition includes daily use of a phone, camera, computer, and Internet access, then go for it. Everyone has their preference.
Why live vicariously?
I realized two things: Vacations are time set apart to rest and be present and technology in its various forms will hinder this, and society as a whole has an addiction to social media. I can look at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park through my computer screen at home. Why would I travel thousands of miles to get there and look at it through another screen? It didn’t make sense to me. Seeing things through a screen prevents us from emotionally connecting with the living history around us. After taking one picture and putting my camera away, I remember looking at it and thinking about how Half Dome was formed and what the Native Americans would have thought of it. I even noticed the smell of the nearby deer dung, which was oddly pleasant.
Without technology occupying your brain, you have the freedom to look at what your eyes are seeing and think about it, learn about it and connect with it. You are given more opportunities to establish a genuine relationship with the people around you. Rather than using a smartphone to find where you are, ask someone for directions. It creates more space for the unknown to happen. I may be old school, but once I put away my phone, camera and computer, I was able to enjoy myself. I even read a book. It was quite nice; give it a try next time you’re on vacation.
Enough is enough
By Amber Khan
Whether it’s posting hundreds of bad Yelp reviews to close down Walter Palmer’s practice death threats to his social media accounts, or using it to discipline your children or coworker, social shaming has gotten out of hand. People have lost their jobs in the past because of their actions. We all, of course, make mistakes, but if your mistake finds light in social media, your minute phrases or actions may dictate the rest of your life.
On Dec. 20, 2013, Justine Sacco tweeted while leaving on a trip, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The tweet caused her to lose her job; she is slowly rebuilding her life now. Sure, the tweet was distasteful, racist and crude, but did she deserve the rape and death threats that went along with losing her job? The severity of the threats, deemed a notion that as long as what you post online is ‘okay with the crowd,’ then go right ahead. In March 2015, Monica Lewinsky shared her experiences through a TED Talk: “Overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide,” said Lewinsky. “I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and of course ‘that woman.’ … I was seen by many but actually known by a few. I lost my reputation and my dignity. I lost almost everything and I almost lost my life.” If someone says or does something that is unjust, then yes, it is okay to react and give your two cents. But to completely sabotage their lives based one one statement or action is just cruel. People make mistakes; it is a part of being human. They are faced with consequences for their actions and punished accordingly. But when social media takes actions into their own hands, where is the empathy? In the case of Walter Palmer, legal justice is indispensable, and he will be judged according to the law. Justine Sacco, lost her job and is rebuilding her life. Social shaming created ways for the internet mob to serve justice to these individuals in ways that the law couldn’t. These individuals live in fear, anxiety and shame for their actions. Social shaming is a reflection of a lost sense of humanity in today’s society. Being online allows you to be anyone you want. Which includes being your own version of an ombudsman. Freedom of speech allows us to post, comment and react to Palmer and Sacco’s actions. But within that freedom death threats and rape threats are used as a way to justify and mentally imprison the offenders. The anonymity of the internet allows people to feel comfortable writing threats. The use of the Internet to shame or bully has seemed to create a desensitization to written and verbal torture.
Sticks and stones
Although it can be seen as a joke, repercussions of shaming can be tremendous. On May 29, 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana committed suicide after her father filmed her hair being cut off as a form of punishment and she shared the video with peers at school. Although the father never intended for her to share the video, the effects of her sharing it indirectly contributed to her suicide. For many years anti-bullying campaigns have been on the rise. A State Bullying Laws and Policies Report released in 2011, showed that from 1999 to 2010, more than 120 bills have been enacted by state legislatures from across the country to introduce and amend statues that address bullying and related behaviors in schools. In an effort to stop bullying in schools and in the workplace, celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, government officials like Barack and Michelle Obama have gotten involved with the efforts. Why stop in the schools and workplace? Social media shaming is a form of bullying that needs to stop everywhere, including on the Internet. The tearing apart of a person through social media is used as a form of entertainment. As long as everyone is in agreement with who the ‘bad’ person is, the harassment continues without repercussions for the mob.
The golden rule
Where do we draw the line and gain a sense of social responsibility and compassion? There are people who have felt cornered to the point of taking their lives. If there are preventative measures to saving lives of those publicly humiliated, then they should be taken. There is the obvious, don’t post humiliating comments on social media. Like rather than condemning and threatening the offender, create open dialogues that are open to all points of view. Within reason of course. Say to others what you would say to yourself. Public humiliation should not be a reason for someone to take their own life. Where does it start? It starts with you and me.