Emergency blog post: Hunger and food security at Wichita State University

A free dinner followed by a discussion about hunger and food security will be offered from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, in Room 203 in the Rhatigan Student Center at Wichita State University.

My Seminar in Public Health course led the WSU Hunger Awareness initiative last semester. We were a team of eight students and our professor as well as numerous volunteers. Our goals were to raise awareness about food security and hunger in the world and in our community as well as to determine the nature and scope of food security and hunger on campus.

We worked with Numana, put on a food packaging event for Somali refugees in Kenya with the help of Numana, SWIPE Out Hunger and Volunteer Kansas and held the first Dinner & Conversation focus group discussion.

The Second Dinner & Conversation is intended to bring WSU community members together to share a meal and to discuss hunger and food security within the campus community. The hope is to add to the findings from last semester’s research.

I do not have access to every student’s individual research. My research focused on graduate students and graduate teaching assistants.

Please join the students for this important conversation about hunger and food security in our community and on our campus.

Food for the dinner is being donated by Sodexo.

WSU Hunger Awareness has a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Please show your support by leaving your comments on the blog and visiting the social networks.

The Campus Kitchens Project: A good kitchen

Last semester, I worked with a team of graduate and undergraduate students to increase awareness about food security and hunger in the Wichita State University community and to determine the nature and scope of hunger on campus.

My research was not statistically significant.

My research did not reveal a massive amount of students, faculty and staff suffering from hunger.

My research could not convince a jury of my peers that people on campus are hungry and struggling.

But my research did do something for me: It strengthened in me a desire to feed the hungry.

While gaps in previous research and lack of former initiatives are responsible for WSU Hunger Awareness Day, the students, faculty and staff who told their stories to the eager ears of researchers and hunger activists were the reason for WSU Hunger Awareness Day.

Those same people are the reason for my graduate project.

Before I graduate and leave WSU, I am writing a proposal to the university to develop a Campus Kitchens Project on campus. The Campus Kitchens Project is a nation-wide, school-based hunger relief program designed to use leftover, unused food from the campus kitchen to feed people suffering from very low food security and hunger in the community.

I ask for your support because I have a strong desire to feed the hungry. I ask for your support because I witnessed and read painful, sorrow-filled testimony from people in the WSU community. I ask for your support if you believe that no one should go to bed hungry.

I ask for your support because I cannot do it alone.

I will collect signatures in support of my proposal on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Rhatigan Student Center. Look for my table on the first floor.

If you cannot or do not want to sign my petition, please spread the word to your friends and acquaintances at WSU.

On the path to graduation: Final classes and projects

Final exams and fitness promises
My last semester of grad school (of school forever) seems to be a breeze, but I know the calm will not last.

A storm is coming…

A four-hour storm during which I must regurgitate all that I have learned as a grad student at WSU in the form of comprehensive exams. I get my questions next week or the week after, and then I have 5-6 weeks to study and prepare my answers.

I must pass my comprehensive exams in order to graduate with a Master’s in Communication. Nervous? Yes. Panicky? Quite.

The semester will soon get the better of me, and I will have a freak-out-panic-attack period during which I will want to take a break from blogging and diet and fitness, but I won’t be able to because I have to blog for class.

Oh, just, joy.

I will go to the gym. I will eat healthy food. I will cook at home.

I have to do it for three credit hours, and my health.

Continuing my research
My graduate project is also starting to stress me out, but in a good way.

Last semester, I worked with a group of undergraduate and graduate students and our professor to raise awareness about hunger on campus. My research focused on graduate students and graduate teaching assistants. It was qualitative research – no statistics, no percentages, just stories.

My graduate project is a proposal to the university to develop the resources needed to create a Campus Kitchen Project at WSU.

It is a big project, a big proposal, and I’ll leave WSU (if I pass my comps) before I see the proposal come to fruition – if it ever does.

The quantitative communication class is taking on the hunger project again this semester. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to provide their food security and hunger stories anonymously to contribute to the research and the cause.

Making time for myself and friends
I do have a ton of work to do, but school and work make Shae a dull girl. She needs time with her friends :)

On Friday, February 17, I attended the Women’s Fair at Century II with some fabulous ladies I met on Twitter.

ICT Women's FairICT Women's FairICT Women's FairICT Women's FairI got my ring cleaned for free, taste tested some frozen wine and made fun of weird hats like this one.

Pink Winter Hat with FurAfter the Women’s Fair, we went to the Drury Plaza Hotel’s AVI, and I ate a ham and cheese sandwich from heaven.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich and Fingerling Potatoes with a Dill Pickle on the SideOn Saturday, I hung out with friends from my hometown, and then with Husband and his friends at my house – all of whomare coming over to clean up their poker chips.


Ciao friends!

The Story of the Missing Ring

I never thought I would be a blog-a-week kind of gal…

…but here we are…

…one week later…

…and one semester OVER.

That’s right! It. Is. Over. (Well, for the most part.)

Here is my final week of classes in review. It’s a good time.

Monday, December 5, 2011
My group goes over last-minute details for our Communication Law presentation.

LADIES’ WINE NIGHT at Sabor! Every once in a while, my former coworkers from WSU’s Office of University Relations and I get together to catch up over a glass of wine and appetizers. I love these women, and I miss working with them. (But I grew up and couldn’t fill their student position anymore! I was totally the best.)

Corn Queso with Flatbread and Tortilla ChipsCorn Queso with Flatbread and Tortilla Chips
And a Strawberry Mojito!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Students give final speeches in preparation for Jeopardy review game on Thursday. They do a good job!

Spend the rest of the day studying for my Communication Theory final exam. I was fully prepared for this exam. Studied hard and had everything pretty much down.

Looked at the test for two and half seconds, but I notice something strange…


I’ll tell you where.

Gone. As in not on my finger. Gone.

I freaked. (In the middle of a quiet classroom during a final exam. My class hated me.) A panicked request to leave and a hopeless search of the bathroom followed.

It was gone. Not in the bathroom where I must have taken it off to wash my hands. I am in tears at this point. No longer panicking. Just crying almost uncontrollably.

Note: When I take my ring off outside of my house, I put it in my mouth. Lotion, hand-washing, etc. It’s hanging out between my teeth.

But, oh, hope! A student told me a girl picked it up and asked a concurrently occurring speech class if it belonged to any of them.

And then the girl disappeared…

Hope dashed.

I waited and waited for the speech class to get out so I could talk to someone. Anyone. To turn up any evidence of my ring’s location. Of the girl who picked it up.

I got a description: my height, dark hair, white coat. Not a lot of help but I am appreciative.

I filled out a report with the campus police, just in case my ring turned up in “Lost & Found,” and then I went home to explain to Husband what I had done.

FUN conversation.

However, he said I did such a good job of beating myself up about it, he wasn’t too mad. I’ve got such a good husband.

While I’m tearing myself up and muttering curses at myself, I’m on Twitter notifying all of @elliottschool’s followers to notify them and the building that my ring is missing and any information would be so much appreciated. (Also doing this on Facebook.)

Reason No. 1 Why I Love Social Media: An entire community is at my fingertips. I reached out, and they reached back.

Not only did I receive words of support and hope, but I also found my ring :)

The girl who picked it up turned it in to her teacher, who I know and contacted through Twitter. The teacher put my ring in an envelope and left in the Elliott School’s main office to which I have a key. I went and got my ring the same night I lost it.

I love good, honest people.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Had lunch with my boss at the big girl job and had fun checking merchandising at our locations. (I will totally tell you about this job in detail soon. Totally soon.)

“Presented” our Communication Law project. It was awesome. (After a minor heart attack with the Prezi not working… PowerPoint all the way.)

Otherwise, I did not do much on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011
Taught my final public speaking class. Yep! That’s right! I’m done teaching Communication 111 at WSU. I have a big girl job for reals (and it’s one of those full-time jobs I kept hearing about! See above.)

Finish paper. Turn paper in. Go to another grad student’s going away party!  She’s running home to get married or something… Psh! Who leaves Wichita?! ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011
Judged my final Shocker Speakout. It’s a speech competition for the public speaking classes at WSU. I judged six speeches, listened to the finalists and completely agreed with the winner (but they all did such a good job)!

After the competition, I did some healthy grocery shopping and cleaned (well, sort of) my messy, messy house.

(And at some point during the week, I got a flat tire. Husband and Father-in-Law are awesome and changed it for me in the freezing cold!)

Which brings us to… now.

And the fact that skinnyshae is back!

Missed you, friends! :)

Food Insecurity Part II: My village fed me

Read Part I: Numana for the background, and then come back for more. Check out WSU Hunger Awareness for more information about our work.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” –African proverb

A village did not raise me.

But more than the standard family unit aided in my care and upbringing.

My mother had me when she was young, and raised me as a single parent. However, single parent did not mean alone. Without being asked, without being told, without hesitation, my mother’s parents, her older sister and older brother, her aunts, uncles and cousins, rushed to help us.

A village did not raise me.

But a neighborhood ensured my safety.

My mother worked multiple jobs and odd hours for the first years of my life. If my grandparents could not watch me, then neighbors and family friends rose up to meet the need.

A village did not raise me.

But a community helped me grow.

My grandparents were well-known in my hometown. Once, my family had owned and operated a local grocer. My grandfather was a salesman and my grandmother worked at the bank. My mother worked at the only restaurant in town. I grew up at the grocery store, at the bank, at the restaurant. The community knew me, and the community grew me.

A village did not raise me, unless a village is an interacting system of family, friends, neighbors and community members.

When a child suffers because single parent really does mean alone…

When a child suffers because working three jobs still fails to put food on the table…

When a child suffers because a community cannot rise up to meet the need…

When a child is hungry…

I see in the world an attitude that says, “My village will not raise this child.”

Children do not choose to be born into food insecure households and poor socioeconomic conditions. However, it is the children who suffer most when parents, communities and the system cannot rise up to meet their nutritional needs.

According to Feeding America, a United States’ domestic hunger-relief charity, insufficient nutrition negatively affects a child’s physical, developmental and social health.

Hunger puts children at risk for illness.

Without proper nutrition, a child’s developing immune system will fail to mature to its fullest potential leading to increased risk of infection, illness and hospitalization.

Hunger deters the development of memory, cognition, language, motor ability, social interaction, behavior and perception.

Without proper nutrition, children are more likely to have initial problems with speaking, behavior and movement, which could later lead to problems with attention, learning and social interaction.

Hunger causes poor academic performance.

Without proper nutrition, children’s physical and cognitive development suffer, which leads to inevitable problems with poor grades, truancy, anxiety, aggression and social interaction dysfunction.

When Feed the Children requests help feeding children across the globe, what do you feel?

When a child’s behavior goes against social norms, either through behaving badly or strangely, what do you think?

Do you pity one and castigate the other?

One of the United States Department of Agriculture’s strategic goals for fiscal year 2010-2015 aims to, “Ensure that all of America’s children have access to safe, nutritious and balanced meals.”

According to the USDA, more than 16 million children lived in food insecure households in America in 2010. – Feeding America

It is 2011. Why are the children still hungry?

Start the discussion in your community today.

Fitness Blogger (for reals)

My blog is shy one month off its first birthday, but good tidings can come before my anniversary.

On Friday, October 7, my blog and my blogging went in to the real world of fitness. Yesterday, I hinted at this (rather obviously).

Well, as real as a graduate student can get, you know? School and teaching always come first, but…

Well, I’m going to blog anyway!

What do I mean here? What is this “real world?

Well, the Shocker Fitness program I have attended since… right about here… needs a blogger, and it just so happens I do that.


While I have been blogging about Shocker Fitness steadily since beginning the program, no one cared. Well, you might have cared, I’m sure… uh, sorry.

The point is that NOW someone wants me to blog about Shocker Fitness! Other people in Shocker Fitness!

(for the second time)

So here we go! First professional blog post! Chances are it’ll be the same as the unprofessional ones…

Cue logo…

Community workout program with Coach Rainbolt

I lost 10 pounds between May and October. Go me!

How did I lose 10 pounds in five months? Well, read my last million or so blog posts…

Or I can recap. It’s whatev.

I started with a healthy diet, which means less junk food and a lot of home-cooked meals. Recipes anyone? I didn’t actually go on a diet; I just ate more healthfully! (And a lot of yogurt…)

I attempted to count calories, but found that I stressed about eating anything knowing my app would yell at me for going over my limit, or eating too much calcium.

Healthy diets are not enough to lose weight; I had to burn something. Last semester, Ashley and I worked out together occasionally, until school and work swallowed us whole. When she left for the summer, I thought I was DOOMED. I have no self-control.

But I made attempts to keep on track with Insanity, various workouts and a neat-oh! running program.

Keeping a close eye on my diet and keeping up with at least four workouts a week, I slowly lost six pounds. Looking at the scale and seeing myself back at the weight I was when I got married? Priceless.

(Yes. I weighed more than I should have when I got married, and that was more than a year ago. I celebrated.)

Problem: Even though I was doing well, I still felt all anxious and weird! I needed moral support. When Ashley came back for the fall semester, we found all the support we needed.

Shocker Fitness, a community exercise program created by WSU track coach Steve Rainbolt, became our support. Remember I wanted to bottle Ashley’s motivation and sell it? Times that by a group.

Luckily, I had already fallen head over heals for running because of the running program I was working on enjoying. Transitioning to intense track workouts and circuit training was a breeze!

OK – “breeze” isn’t the right word…

I went early every morning with Ashley, and we worked our butts off!

I threw myself in to the workouts. I pushed my body and ignored my mind. I learned how to get rid of my anxiety. I connected with the track and with the group.

We might not all be college students. We might not all be women. But we all connect on at least one level: fitness.

I lost four more pounds… in one month. (Previously, I lost six pounds in four months.) At 130, I am almost back to my pre-college weight. Ten more pounds…

So how do you lose 10 pounds in five months?

Healthy diet and exercise… and lots of self-esteem boosting community fitness! Shocker Fitness :)

You do not have to be a Shocker to join! You just have to want to be fit, and, really, who doesn’t want to be fit?

If you need encouragement to get out and try a track workout or join us for Shocker Fitness…

…read about my awesome calf muscles, or…

…how I’m a machine, or…

…how I conquered my workout anxiety.

You’ll see :)

You should know…

You know you were curious…

Randomness abounds! None of this is even marginally important.

Enjoy :)

Husband calls me “Anxiety Girl!” She can jump to the worst conclusion in less than a minute. It’s a healthy amount of paranoia, if you ask me.

And one day my paranoia will save my life, or the lives of others. I’m a future super hero!

I think the semicolon is the best piece of punctuation ever. Ever.

I am a strange, strange little person. I do and say weird things. I am unintentionally awkward in social settings, even when I’m not uncomfortable! (Usually good for a laugh.)

Husband lets me know that I am weird, in general, when I am being especially odd, and that he thinks it’s adorable :)

I bought my wedding dress on Craigslist for $100 because I’m cheap thrifty

…and proud of it!

I am the spitting image of my mother. We look exactly alike. Except for the perm, and the fact that she was RAIL thin in high school, we could have been twins when I was 18. And my mother looks like my grandmother, who looks like her mother, who looks… well, you get the idea.

I got me some strong genes.

My tongue is tied. I was born with a severe disability. The greatest insulting gesture for a seven-year-old is sticking out her tongue. I, however, cannot stick out my tongue more than a centimeter, if that.

I bite the carp outta my fingernails. For a blissful year(ish), I had fingernails, when Husband proposed. After the wedding, they were gone again. Sigh.

My eyes are green. People tell me: “No, your eyes are hazel.” They’re not. They’re green.

My hair color is original. I grew it all by myself :)

Once, I dyed it red, athen I was in a play so I had to dye it brown, and that was in high school so this is all original!

Speaking of plays…

My first college major used to be Theater Performance. Someone wanted to be famous! (Hint: Me.) I was completely prepared to perform at the Melodrama.

However, I did not live the dream long. It’s not that I’m terrible at acting, I just hated the lifestyle so I didn’t try hard. I quit after my first production at WSU.

Although, I did think about switching to costuming. BTW I do not know the person to whom I am affixing a lion head to. (A little weightier back then… FRESHMAN 15!)

When I was little, like 10 or 12, I wanted be an astronomer. Stars, black holes, physics, gravity, dark matter… All of it. It’s spiff! But then I found out in high school how horrible I am at math and science, and I would have to take 9+ years of school. Needless to say, I’m not an astronomer. Space is sill totally cool, though.

And through high school and my undergrad, I was a hostess, server and bartender. Yee-haw! EIGHT YEARS of this…

This is what struggling actors do, I’m sure… Apparently, it’s the same with…


Shocking! A communication grad is a writer?! I know, duh, but I used to be a real writer who got paid for writing (not much, but, hey, not complain’).

Now, all I do is blog (and school and work and more school)… Does that count? Well, it should.

What I want more than anything is to write professionally. I am not picky. I just want to get paid to write. Best. Job. Ever. :)

Also, I want to write a book, and I have a stellar idea that I’m not sharing. The interwebz will not be stealin’ my thunder!

In the (far off) future, I want to be a teacher, specifically a professor of rhetorical communication theory at WSU. Yeah, I want to stay here forever, and would if I could!

Hiring in 10 years? Maybe? Yes? :)

After WSU, if I do not go on to KU for my doctorate, I want to work as a writer, blogger, PR-reporter-social-media-whatever-person for a really great organization who won’t mind that I’m a little strange and awkward, or that I have a weird tongue, or that I refer to my husband as “Husband” in normal conversation.

Someone will hire me… I’m really useful!

What else? Nothing seems quite as interesting after that…

I am a wife-lady (one husband, two pets, one rental, scheduled laundry days, and the like)

I have a step-sister, a half-brother, and an innumerable amount of cousins. (Of, course, that’s ridiculous. I’m just too lazy to count them all.)

I have FOUR nephews. Please, oh please, let the next one be a girl! Why? Hair bows. That’s why.

These are my babies…

And I food and fitness and stuff!

Let me tell you… I am waaaaay more fun, and interesting, in-person. I hope only to translate some of that attitude to my blog.

Remember: On Sunday, Oct. 9, I will be refilling water cups with Brandi Koskie at the Diets In Review water station for those running  in the (recently) annual Prairie Fire Marathon!

And, yes, I will be blogging about it. Live Tweets of the race? Sure! :) Follow @skinnyshae! And probably @runpfm (#PrairieFire) for Prairie Fire!

Tell me something random about you! Do it.