GRADUATES MAKE UH THEIR HOME, CAREER

by Shahida Amin

Contributing Writer

Just when it's time to move out into the 'real world,' some graduates are finding the real world here at the University of Houston.

Over the years, UH has offered jobs to its graduates, creating offices for people who once sat in the classrooms.

"Who better off to sell the university than a product of that university?" said Angie Milner, director of external affairs in the College of Pharmacy. "It speaks very highly of the university for it to promote within its own institution."

Before graduating from UH in Spring 1995 with a degree in journalism, Milner, 23, came across her current position on the Internet.

"I pulled it up, read the job description, and thought it was completely ideal," she said. "I could not have picked a better job qualification. It's using everything I learned from the communications school -- public relations, advertising, writing and graphic design."

Like Milner, Melanie Barr, 24, applied to become an academic adviser for the College of Technology soon after graduating from UH in Spring 1994 with a psychology degree.

"It's been a nice transition from college to the real world," Barr said. "The territory is really familiar."

For class of '92 graduate Wendy Daigler, 25, becoming an admissions counselor at the central campus allows for time to work toward a Master's degree in counseling at UH Clear Lake.

According to the graduates, getting the job often requires more than just a degree. Milner, former Students' Association president and orientation leader, and Barr, former orientation leader, said the experience they gained in leadership positions was a major factor.

'They were really impressed with the fact that I was on campus and active, and I knew something about advising," Barr said.

Barr, Milner and Daigler agree that knowledge of the campus, familiarity with the System and love of the university give alumni an extra edge in their jobs.

"A lot of times, (alumni) are the people who really care about the university," Barr said. "Those who put the effort while in school will put the extra effort to make things better because they're proud of the university and care about how things go."

Daigler said, "I value the education I got here. Since I went to school here and enjoyed it, it's easier for me to talk to students about what it will be like here."

According to Barr, it's easier to identify with the students she advises since she had been one herself for five years.

"It's easier to tell people where to go because I've been there," Barr said. "I know what it's like to only get half the information. I know why it's important to be clear and explain all of the options."

Having worked with students as an orientation leader, Barr said she came to her job knowing what kinds of questions students would have. "I try and point out helpful things -- hints like keeping your old class schedules to find out about finals," she said.

For graduates like Barr, Milner and Daigler, UH has become more than just an alma mater.

 

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DAY CLASSES HAVE PRIORITY OVER NIGHT

HFAC DEAN CITES LACK OF FUNDS, STAFF

by James Aldridge

Daily Cougar Staff

Due to scarce resources and the competing demands of daytime students in the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication, many students have discovered that not nearly as many classes are offered at night.

However, HFAC Dean James Pipkin said that he and the college consider serving the needs of evening students an important part of the college's mission.

"We would like to reach the point where it would be possible for students who can take only evening courses to earn a degree in the college's disciplines, but that is not currently possible for many years," Pipkin said.

The reason why the college has not been able to offer a wider range of classes is because the college is under-funded and under-staffed, Pipkin said.

In addition to trying to meet the needs of students on this campus, Pipkin said the college has to offer courses at off-campus institutes and the new inter-university campus in Montgomery County.

Although university surveys indicate that students want more evening classes available, the majority of students who take HFAC classes enroll in sections offered between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., Pipkin said.

Pipkin said the college must try to meet the needs of the most students as possible.

"At a time of limited resources, the issue is to balance the schedule so that we serve all of our student populations but in proportion to demand," he said.

In the English Department, 75 percent of the classes offered in the Fall are in the daytime.

About 16 percent of foreign language classes offered this Fall are in the evening.

Almost half of the history classes offered in the Fall are in the evening and Thomas O'Brian, chairman of the History Department, said having only a few classes offered at night was something that was true in the past.

"We are trying to offer evening classes," he said, but in the past, O'Brian said, students did not enroll in evening history classes because very few other departments offered evening courses. O'Brian said it was not advantageous for students to sign up for a class in the evening if they could not fill their schedule with other courses for their major.

"In some ways, it has become a vicious circle," he said. "Hopefully, in this next year we can offer more classes."

Pipkin said, "I think serious consideration should also be given to creating a university-wide 'Weekend College.' I think ideas of this sort would meet the needs of nontraditional students, give faculty more take home pay at a time when the state has not provided merit raises for five years, and help us deal with budget issues."

But one way to help remedy the problem of the lack of funds in meeting all of the needs of students, Pipkin said, is creating a focus group of potential evening students who are not taking any classes at UH to find out what their needs are.

This idea would be implemented to see what would be the best ways in meeting the needs of evening students and raise enrollment and serve the UH community better.

Pipkin said these ideas should be a part of the enrollment management study that Interim President Glenn Goerke plans to undertake once he assumes office after August 31.

 

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FULLER'S SA POSITION YET TO BE FILLED

by James V. Geluso

Senior Writer

The Students' Association Senate, in its Tuesday meeting, rejected the application of Jeff Megow for director of Public Relations, following the advice of the Internal Affairs Committee, which reported unfavorably on him because of his lack of experience on Macintosh computers.

Megow had applied for the position filled by former Senate Speaker Jeff Fuller, who will vacate the position July 7.

Sen. Brad Castelo, chairman of Internal Affairs, said Megow was talented, but not qualified for that position. "He is a good person and would be very valuable to the Students' Association in any other position, but he is just not qualified for this position," he said.

Castelo said he was particularly concerned with Megow's lack of experience in desktop publishing.

Sen. Andrea Rachiele was more concerned with Megow's experience in public relations. "This is not about computers," she said. "To do public relations, you need to know how to do press releases, you have to know the right style. PR is an art, and it is not easy."

Megow said he had experience from working in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, where he was Frontier Fiesta chairman in 1994.

Rachiele said that the PR director should be required to be a journalism major. Megow is majoring in entrepreneurship.

Vice President Dom Lewinsohn countered that statement. "Kay To, our director of finance, who does a wonderful job, is a biology major," he said.

Lewinsohn pointed out that with Cougar Kickoff approaching, a PR director should be appointed quickly.

Brad Lamont, a student who accompanied Megow to the meeting, defended Megow's lack of Macintosh experience. "I learned how to use a Macintosh in 10 minutes," he said. "You use a mouse. You point and click."

After two attempts at a vote were abandoned at the last minute for continued debate, a secret ballot was finally taken. Rachiele moved that the tally not be announced, so it is only known that Megow was rejected.

The Senate also revised a bill passed last week for the purchase of computers. The new bill, which passed unanimously, calls for $11,074 to buy five PowerMac 7100CD computers and one LaserWriter Select 360.

Because the purchase will be made before June 30, SA will receive a rebate of $200 on the printer, according to Sen. Casey McMurtry.

The only debate about the bill was whether to purchase a printer capable of handling 11-inch by 17-inch documents. The Senate opted for the smaller printer, saving about $800, according to estimates from Fuller.

The Senate also approved a bill calling for a universitywide Food Service Advisory Committee. Student Life Committee Chairwoman Spring Pankratz had advised the Senate to wait until the Residence Halls Association had endorsed the bill, but the Senate passed it unanimously after Lewinsohn requested the bill be passed immediately.

 

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UH ALUMNUS TO HOST LOCAL TV SHOW

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

Peter Roussel, 1965 UH graduate and 1983 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, will host a premiere Houston TV show tonight on KUHT Channel 8.

<I>Profiles from Houston<P>, a locally produced half-hour special, will feature one-on-one interviews hosted by native Houstonian Roussel, who served as special assistant deputy press secretary to President Reagan from 1981 to '87. He also served as press secretary/personal press officer to George Bush from 1969 to '74.

This week's show will feature Texas playwright Horton Foote.

Foote won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his off-Broadway play <I>The Young Man from Atlanta<P>.

Other honors include Oscars for Foote's screenplay adaptation of <I>To Kill a Mockingbird<P> in 1962 and for his original screenplay of <I>Tender Mercies<P> in 1983. He also received the 1991 Alley Award from Houston's Alley Theatre.

<I>Profiles from Houston<P>, produced and directed by KUHT's Richard Canter, will premiere today at 9 p.m.

 

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UGH, THE REAL WORLD

FINDING EMPLOYMENT AFTER GRADUATION -- PIECE OF CAKE

by Kim Antley

Contributing Writer

Just wait until you're in the real world, parents tell their college students at one time or another. As graduates venture into the "real world" alone, some may find the task daunting, to say the least. But people and programs are available to help students who are beginning careers or looking for summer employment; students simply need to seek these programs.

The unemployment rate in the greater Houston area increased to 7.2 percent in June from 6.5 percent in May, according to Joel Wagher of the Labor Market Information of the Texas Employment Commission.

"We estimate this seasonal increase is due to high school and college students entering the work force. It's only one month that spikes," Wagher said.

The University of Houston Career Planning and Placement Center offers an internship program, coordinated by Denise Woodard, that gives students the opportunity for on-the-job training.

Internship services include a bulletin board with listings and reference books that catalog internships and a special internship section of the JOBank Voicelink system. JOBank Voicelink is a job listing and referral service enabling UH students and alumni to access job listings 24 hours a day from any touch-tone telephone.

David B. Small, assistant vice president for Student Services, said 95 percent of the internships through the placement center are paid. "There seem to be more business internships, but we have shown an increase in nonprofit (organization) internships," he said.

Small said he would recommend beginning a search in January by viewing resume and interview instruction tapes and targeting potential employers. Employers begin listing positions in February, and these are usually the best jobs, he said.

Another alternative for summer employment is Houston Works, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and has 6,000 openings every summer.

To qualify for the summer youth program, applicants must reside in Houston, be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident, be 14 to 21 years old and meet low-income guidelines (household income of less than $14,000). Of the 6,000 youths, about 7.5 percent are college students, said Ron Rodriguez, manager of Youth Programs at Houston Works.

The goal of Houston Works is twofold. "First, we want to give kids the basic skills to pursue jobs later in life and encourage them to stay in school and go to college. Second, we want to keep kids off the streets during the summer," Rodriguez said.

A classroom program is designed for the 14- and 15-year-olds. The 16- to 21-year-olds are placed mainly in nonprofit settings, where they work Monday through Thursday for eight hours a day and earn $4.25 an hour.

According to Rodriguez, the top three characteristics employers seek in job candidates are trustworthiness, reliability and the ability to understand systems and how structures are set up. Time management, ability to interact well with others, and organizational skills are other qualities Rodriguez said employers are looking for in potential employees.

"Employers are looking for people who can do their jobs -- even though it's in the summer," he said.

Rodriguez added that it is important for college students to work if their class schedule allows.

Nationally, 56 percent of undergraduates work while they attend classes. At UH, 72 percent of undergraduates are working, Small said.

The UH Career Planning and Placement Center coordinates 9,000 interviews a year for students and alumni, Small said.

"We (the CPPC) are here to help students make career decisions and gain skills that will complement or enhance their long-range goals," Small said.

Help Wanted USA, another service offered by the CPPC, makes available the classified ads from the most recent Sunday editions from 64 major U.S. cities. Students can also access job listings on the Internet, and UH will be installing Viewnet -- a way for employers to conduct live interactive interviews from all over the country. UH is the first university in the Southwest to establish Viewnet, which will be available by the end of July.

Small encourages students to take advantage of these high-tech and other resources that are paid for by Student Service Fees.

CPPC also offers career counselors to assess the needs and wants of students, to give students information pertaining to specific jobs or industries, and to offer vocational testing. "We have counselors who really care. They are committed; they go the extra mile," Small said.

Seniors preparing to enter the work force should begin by developing references, Small suggested. The placement center offers workshops and videotapes about networking, resume writing, interviewing skills and career decision-making.

Students have the opportunity to participate in career fairs, at which employers will conduct interviews and even make job offers, Small said.

Small encourages students to continue searching the want ads. "Eighteen percent of all jobs are still filled through the want ads," he said.

Less than 25 percent of all graduates have jobs when they graduate. But within three months of graduation, 86 percent of engineering majors, 78 percent of business majors and 43 percent of liberal arts majors are employed, Small said.

"Being able to handle rejection helps," Small said, as a final word of advice. " But students should persist, keep an optimistic view and remain focused."

 

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THEATRE FESTIVAL CHARMS CHILDREN

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

Perhaps you've noticed bus loads of children packing into the Wortham Theatre. These children have come to the University of Houston for the 18th Annual Children's Theatre Festival.

CTF, co-founded by School of Theatre Director Sidney Berger and his former office assistant Bren Dubay, began its first season in the summer of 1978.

The festival presents three productions every summer (one musical and two plays).

CTF's production of <I>Snow White<P>, adapted from the tale by the Brothers Grimm by Berger and Rob Landes, closed with its June 21 performance. The season continues with productions of <I>Rumpelstiltskin<P>, premiering June 29, and <I>The Snow Queen<P>, premiering Aug. 1.

Berger said that in relation to other countries in the world, the United States is not as devoted to introducing children to a cultural life.

As a result, there are only two or three children's theaters of distinction in the country, he said.

"So, in my own small way, I've decided to try to do something about it in this city and create a theater for children," Berger said.

Berger said some children's literature is adapted for the productions, but he likes to encourage writers to produce original scripts.

"Original scripts need to be written by the best writers in the country as well as young and coming writers," he said.

Berger said that, unfortunately, children are not always polite during a performance.

Orvis Melvin, who played the part of Doc in <I>Snow White<P>, said, "You've got an immediate indicator on a moment-by-moment basis of how well you are connecting with your audience.

"If you can hold their (the children's) attention, you can hold the attention of any audience."

Melvin said children are much more vocal than adults.

He recalled a child saying, "Eww, he (the prince) kissed a dead girl!" during a <I>Snow White<P> performance.

Houston actress Jentry Brown, who played Snow White in the production, said, "Children know good work when they see it. You can tell, because if they're bored, they start fidgeting, and that rarely happens."

The festival has also developed programs for children from special interest groups, by shadowing performances for the deaf. For example, signing characters participate in the action of the play.

Shadowed performances of <I>The Snow Queen<P> are Aug. 11 and 13. These performances are co-produced by Illuminations ... Theatre with the Deaf.

Brown said working at CTF is a "really professional experience," and she finds it rewarding. She has also done work at other children's theater productions.

"Nothing compares to this children's theater," she said.

CTF is produced by the Festivals Co., which is a professional project of the UH School of Theatre.

The festival is supported in part by a grant from the city of Houston through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston. It is also supported by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Major support has been received from the Houston Delphian Endowment for the Children's Theatre Festival. Many others have supported the festival through grants.

For performance and ticket information, call the Wortham Theatre Box Office at 743-2929.

 

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<I>FIRECRACKER<P> EXPLOSIVE LOVE STORY

<I>RED FIRECRACKER, GREEN FIRECRACKER<P>

Director: He Ping

Stars: Wu Gang, Ning Jing

2 1/2 stars

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

A woman is forced by her family to suppress her femininity so she can run the family fireworks business. She is addressed as a man, dresses like a man, and is forbidden to marry. Then one day a wandering artist comes to work for the business.

You can probably see it coming from a mile away. They fall in love.

There's nothing about the Chinese film <I>Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker<P> that isn't predictable. The forbidden love causes Chun Zui, the female "master," to reject her family's desires and embrace her womanhood. Such a turn of events upsets Mr. Zhao, the estate manager, and Mr. Mann, the arrogant business manager. The artist gets pounded on by Mann and the villagers several times.

But this film is more than a standard love story. It drags the story out to 111 minutes, but keeps the tension up the whole way through.

Every character is incredibly stoic, even as they throw tables in anger or twirl exploding firecrackers in a contest to win Chun Zui's hand in marriage. Nie Bao, the painter, and Mann take an instant dislike for each other, and when Mann discovers Chun Zui's interest in Nie Bao, his dislike turns to seething, violent hatred.

Chun Zui is (predictably) initially confused by her feelings for Nie Bao. As the two develop their relationship, she must come to terms with her family's wishes, her own sense of duty and her own feelings.

The conflicts between the characters are many, but they are not resolved in violent verbal or physical battles. Instead, they seem like tectonic plates rubbing and pressing against each other, occasionally exploding in violence (always involving firecrackers) but never really resolving.

The picture is set in early 20th century northern China, with the raging Yellow River providing the backdrop for many scenes. The silhouetted Chun Zui standing above the churning yellow waters is the definitive scene of the movie, capturing the raging tension that exists within and between each character as well as their insistence that life be faced as stoically as possible.

 

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