Tag Archives: university

Harvard University – MC Escher Style

Harvard University - MC Escher Style

Took this photo a couple years ago when a friend came to visit. We went to Boston, and I tried to include all of those quintessential moments — the Common, the historical sites, and of course walking across the Charles to Harvard.

I left this shot in black and white to emphasize the patterns. Really reminds me of some of Escher’s crazy work.


Fall Planets

Copyright Ashley Klann. Not to be used without consent.

360 degree panoramic planet of Downing Street, running through Clark University’s campus in Worcester, MA. Copyright Ashley Klann. Not to be used without consent.

Fall is such a dynamic season. Took this panoramic shot yesterday when the skies were very overcast, making the leaves pop right off the branches.

If you’re looking to learn more about this technique, visit http://www.photoguides.net/photoshopping-tiny-planets

If you’d like to see more of my planets, visit http://aeroartist.deviantart.com/gallery/39738882

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Going Local

So, for anyone who’s following my blog or ends up stumbling upon it, I’m now employed at GoLocalWorcester, which is awesome. Getting paid for what I want to do? Hell yeah. Here are the first two stories I’ve done.



Future Clarkies won’t need to worry about the SAT

This time four years ago, there was a huge, blue paperback College Board book on my desk. It sat there for months, as those three letters, S A T, menacingly stared back at me. Did I ever do a single practice exam? No. I sold it to my neighbor and probably blew the money hanging out with friends after school.

Yeah, you remember this book.

I’m sure my dad wasn’t very happy about that, but preparing for the SAT just wasn’t something I wanted to do. I wanted to get a score I deserved, not one I crammed to get.

The test was just as annoying as I had anticipated. Waking up early, still in a groggy state, I drove to my high school and did what I had to do. I wrote about some pointless topic for 25 minutes and put arbitrary numbers into formulas.

The scoring system confused me, but apparently it confused others even worse; the kid next to me accidentally skipped a bubble, sending him into a fit of erasing that took more time than we were given. Redo.

The essays were also stupid. I recall one about yawning. Really? I’m getting up at the crack of dawn to take a test that’s going to make me read about yawning? What kind of maniacal people do College Board hire? “Even reading about yawning can make you want to yawn,” it said. Thanks, SAT.

When I got my scores back, it took me a while I figure it out. The year I did them, they had just changed the procedure for no apparent reason other than to make it harder for me to figure out if I was happy or not. My final reaction – meh. Not great, not bad.

I remember my AP English teacher telling us about someone she knew who graded the writing portions during the summer. They don’t give them enough time to read them and are told to just glance it over, read the first and last sentences and give it a number. This shocked and frustrated me to the point of doing a presentation on the shortcomings of standardized testing my senior year. Apparently I was onto something.

According to fairtest.org, nearly 900 colleges are now test-optional, Clark soon to be one of them. Yep, high school you didn’t need to freak out at all. They’re pretty much pointless.

Clark’s online news hub recently issued an article about their decision to go SAT/ACT optional by fall 2013. Due to a study by the Admissions office and faculty, the school has decided to put more emphasis on the student’s performance in high school, strength of the high school, character, class rank, and outside activities.

President Angel was also quoted in the article, saying Clark’s new LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) program will work in conjunction with this decision. Don Honeman, dean of admissions and financial aid, believes that this fits well with Clark’s more hands-on approach to critical thinking and will foster students’ work and engagement with faculty and other students.

Retrospectively, I still completely agree with my position on standardized testing. It’s biased and encourages a narrowing of the curriculum. Students shouldn’t be taught to test well on a test to get them into college. They should be taught how to be engaged and think critically about real-life issues and problems. They shouldn’t study something just because it’s something on which they will be tested, and likewise, colleges shouldn’t base the enrollment process on numbers that can be skewed by so many variables.

While the argument that there needs to be some standard, measurable level of proficiency in such things as reading, writing, and math does hold some ground, there must be a better, more thorough way of understanding this aspect of a potential college student.

I’m just glad I didn’t freak myself out too much about the SAT when I took it.

Freshmen may disregard this rant

Why? Because you just don’t understand. Yet. But you will.

Every year since my first year atClark, I’ve been confronted with the same conversation at some point. Boy, do first-year students suck. Why? Well, we’re not all that sure. They try really hard. They don’t know where Dana Hall or Razzo are. They aren’t sure which street runs next to the parking garage. They don’t know aboutWorcester’s crazy St. Patrick’s Day Parade or why there are hearts on some of the street signs in the city. They haven’t honed their skills yet, and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

But I digress. While all of those answers at some point or another could be valid, they aren’t the real reason, and it’s taken me quite a while to figure out just what’s so annoying about first-years.

Before you all start sending me angry emails, I must admit my reasoning. It’s because I’m a little jealous. As much as I’m ready to embark on my epic post-undergraduate experience (albeit a fifth-year on the same campus) and as much as I’m ready to step into the real world, I’m jealous. I don’t get the same satisfaction walking around this campus as you do, first-years. I don’t get the same novel experience watching the seasons change for the first time, not knowing what Freud will look like covered in a foot of snow. I won’t get the same amazement you’ll get going to Gala for the first time or witnessing an election in the caf for the first time. I’ll never have that again, and I’m jealous.

So, enjoy it. Enjoy those trips to the Bistro for quesadillas you know you shouldn’t be eating. Enjoy having to sneak around the dorms during quiet hours. Enjoy the new and sometimes awkward moments, because soon, they won’t be as new.

From Pulse Magazine: Clark U’s Cycles for Change


From Clarkie to City Councilor? Devin Coleman has big ideas for Worcester

Clark University has done a lot for the city of Worcester. They offer free tuition to eligible local residents who have lived in the neighborhood for five years prior to enrollment. It has brought better education to Main South with the University Park Campus School, and facilitated neighborhood renovations and green architecture in the surrounding neighborhood. And now, Clark is supplying Worcester with a candidate for city councilor-at-large.

Clark senior, Devin Coleman. Photo by Ashley Klann.

While some might question the ability of a college student to know how to help a city, twenty-one-year-old Devin Coleman is ready for the opportunity to change minds and change Worcester.

Devin has been calling Worcester home since fall of 2009 and has been working hard to figure out how the city can better serve its residents.

“Over the last year and a half, I’ve been going to community meetings,” Coleman said. “I see the mayor, but no councilors. If you claim to care about people you’re representing, you should be there listening to your constituents.”

“The phrase I’ve heard the most has been ‘We need new blood.’ Thousands of people have said it,” he said. “They want people who aren’t connected to the system. People don’t think they’re being listened to.”

Coleman’s platform consists of some simple, innovative ways to save the city money, and use that savings for things like education, public safety, and infrastructure.

“People start asking, ‘Where does my money go?’” Coleman said, advocating for more transparency. “We need to start cleaning up wasteful and irresponsible spending.”

He estimates that his proposed plans would save the city $5.5 million, annually, through various changes in how the city spends its money.

“Only 1.7% of the population use public transit. We need to find out who’s not being served, who needs to be served,” he said. “The busing system is privately owned, so we can do something about it. It’s all about getting it where we need it.” With adjustments to the public transit system, Coleman estimates the city would save $50,000.

Another change Coleman would like to see is the implementation of a wellness program similar to the one used by Boeing. If workers meet a level of health indicated by standards like their BMI and cholesterol, health insurance premiums would go down. The incentive would be a check at the end of the year. Money spent on health insurance is saved, and workers see the benefits in their lifestyle and their pockets.

“I don’t see a downside to this, personally. Everyone benefits. It’ll get people healthy and save the city money,” Coleman said. After his discussions with United Health Care, he estimates this would save the city roughly $5 million a year.

Coleman is also in favor of privatizing human resources.

“People say, ‘Doesn’t that mean laying people off?’ and the answer is, we’re not sure. The thing is that many people are over-paid and under-qualified in the office,” he said. Coleman gave an example of a $300,000 fine from the IRS that the city recently suffered. “Nobody got fired or reprimanded for that. Maybe I’m crazy, but a mistake like that shouldn’t be ignored. Tax payers are working hard for that money.”

Another incident Coleman mentioned involved the city receiving a snow and ice removal certificate, which is an award of sorts, showing the city’s proficiency. “Personally, I don’t think the city is very good at that,” Coleman said with a laugh. “But we verified it, and [the city] did apply and receive it.” However, there were hidden costs, Coleman said, including a trip to Spokane, Washington to get it. He said there were questions as to how much was spent in the matter.

“Either way, the city was reluctant to release that information,” he said. “We need more transparency. You could buy a classroom’s books with that money. It’s foresight like that that needs to be improved.”

Coleman is also seeking to improve relations between the city and unions, citing incidences where money was wasted in grievance hearings. “If it’s a surface thing, it’s wasteful spending,” he said. “It’s happened two times in the past month.” Coleman advocates for better communication with unions, and fewer layoffs.

“We can then take the money we save with those strategies and invest in education, public safety, solving gang issues, infrastructure, pot holes, sidewalks – things like that,” he said. “The city needs to be more proactive, not reactive. They’re closing businesses and keeping residents out.”

With petitions due July 27th, Coleman, and members of his campaign are rushing to get the word out. Only 300 signatures are needed by that date for a candidate to make it on the ballot. Coleman already has 550 and is aiming for 1,000.

With determination like that, his youth hasn’t been an issue. “As long as you know what you’re talking about, it doesn’t matter how old you are,” he said.

Coleman acknowledged the difficulties that lie between universities and the city of Worcester. “There is a tough relationship with Clark and other universities and their neighborhoods,” he said. “These are large institutions that don’t pay taxes.”

Coleman is in favor of monetary agreements between universities and their surrounding areas, such as a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, a voluntary tax agreement which three universities in Worcester have agreed to, including Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Under the program,Clark’s total voluntary payments over the 20-year-period will exceed $6.7 million. “There are bargaining opportunities,” he said.

While Coleman is a college student in Worcester, that isn’t why he’s running.

“I want to make it clear that I’m not running as a college student. I’m not going to be a spokesperson for the universities in Worcester,” he said. “I’m running as a resident who’s going to pass things to benefit everybody.”

The petition due date by July 27th will notify voters which candidates will be running, followed by the primary on September 20th and the general election in November. To read more about Coleman’s platform, visit devincoleman.com.