Thursday, December 11, 2014

Q & A with a Library Student Worker: Kamaya Bogar

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Psychology Major, Family Studies Minor, Class of 2015

How long have you worked in the library, and what's been your favorite part?
I started in December of 2011, so for three-ish years. My favorite part is just getting to see all the student body. I've made a lot of friends working in the library. Some of the people here, I see their faces every day, and establish relationships with them that way. I love seeing my friends, getting to say hi, and helping customers out. Before I started working in the library, I used to come here every night. When I’m getting down to the wire, the library is my safety net. I know that I can come here and get stuff done.

The library is a really fun place, with a lot of fun people, so don’t be scared to come in and ask a lot of questions, because we love questions!

What is your ideal job after graduation?
In the future I would like to be a Family and Marriage Therapist. I want to work with families who are going through divorce or do premarital counseling. I’m really big on relationships. I am just so interested in them! And then also with the divorce aspect, I've gone through it, so I want to learn more about it and see how I can be a help with it, see how it’s an issue in the world.

Do you have a book recommendation for us?
One of my favorite books that actually just got turned into a movie is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That’s been a long time coming - I didn't even know it was going to be a movie until it came out. My mom has a lot of the Alexander books, and she collects a lot of picture books - Peef: the Christmas Bear, Elmer the Colorful Elephant, stuff like that.

Looking back on the past four years, what is the thing you are most proud of accomplishing here at Concordia?
Being involved in everything that I've been involved in. Being on cheer, getting a leadership role in psychology club, those are things that I think will help me in the future and they’re also things I can look back on and be proud of doing. And I'm also proud of working hard, getting my degree. Being able to see success afterwards. It’s pretty nice.

What advice would you give yourself as a first-year?
To pace myself and to enjoy a little more. As a freshman, I didn't get too much involved. I was kind of nervous and shy, and now I would tell myself to just embrace everything and be open to everything. Take it one step at a time. It flies by very fast. I can’t believe that this is my senior year. It doesn't even feel like it - it feels like I just got accepted here. It flies by really fast, so make the most of it.

What are you going to miss most about Concordia?
I’m going to miss seeing people. And being close to people, being part of this community and all the activities that go on. I feel like once you get into the real world, it’s harder to stay connected to the people you've built relationships with, and it’s harder to have that community you get from campus events, meeting new people, and socializing. I’ll miss that. I will miss everyone that I've met at the library. It’s going to be sad. Most of these people I've known since my freshman year, so it’ll be weird not coming into the library and not seeing everyone everyday.

Tell me one weird fact about yourself.
I can wiggle my ears. Can you wiggle your ears?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Faculty Spotlight: A Conversation with Eric Dregni

As part of the library's new Faculty Spotlight program, it's our pleasure to feature Eric Dregni, Associate Professor of English. Visit the library to see the full display and page through Dregni's books, including his newest, By the Waters of Minnetonka

What’s the most bizarre story you have to tell about Minnesota? One I've been thinking a lot about recently is Carver’s Cave in St. Paul. With all the talk about the stunning prehistoric cave drawings in Lascaux, France (and elsewhere in that area), we should know that Minnesota had similar petroglyphs here that Jonathan Carver wrote about. Unfortunately, the cave was chopped up by the railroads and only a portion of it survives.

What sparked the idea for your newest book, By the Waters ofMinnetonka? I grew up in Minnetonka and slowly learned some of the unusual history of the lake. I wished that the trolleys still made it out there. I freelanced historical articles about the lake for Lake Minnetonka Magazine – everything from pastors allegedly shooting saloonkeepers to dredging up streetcar boats stuck in the muck at the bottom of the lake for 70 years.

I hear you speak Italian. How did you become interested in
Italy?  I went to Italy in high school at 17 years of age as an exchange student. I didn't know a word of Italian (spaghetti and ravioli don’t really count) and stayed with a family for a year that didn't speak a word of English (hamburger and Elvis Presley don’t count). I kept going back because I love the Italian lifestyle.

How did you first become interested in Scandinavian culture? My dad would make a monthly “Norwegian dinner” with everything white and bland. As a kid, though, taste-free food is good. Only when my wife and I lived in Norway for a year did I learn how potent many of the dishes truly are. Try salt licorice or fermented fish (rakfisk) and you’ll never say Scandinavian food is flavorless. We have much to learn from Norway with its universal health care, free student tuition for college, and love of winter. I’d love to go back someday. 
What advice do you have for Concordia students who want to write books some day? Read! We have this idea that inspiration always comes from within, but it’s crucial to know what others are writing. Then get to work writing by setting aside some time each week to put down your thoughts. Even if you are a creative writer, don’t forget about journalism. Freelance writing for magazines, newspapers, or websites will help hone your skills.  

Anything else you’d like to share with us? I’d encourage students to study abroad for a semester, even if it doesn't “fit into the schedule.” Believe it or not, it’s much easier to live abroad now than it will be once you graduate.