Tag Archives: education

Hands-on Learning in Siouxland, Young Journalists ply their Craft, Orange City

16 Jun

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, left and Micaela, right, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Recently I met two young ladies who were “learning” and expanding their knowledge of journalism, studying at Dordt University in Sioux Center, attending the World Journalism Institute workshop. The workshop gives them “real-life” experiences reporting stories about locals through which they write, photograph, collect audio and video and produce different end projects so they get a taste of what the various mediums are available to today’s journalists. And the institute from what I understand does this through a more Christian perspective, as per a description on the Institute’s website:

“Our mission is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians. Journalism is a high calling. WJI is concerned with covering news that remembers the needs of the “uns”: the unborn, the uneducated, the unemployed, and the unfashionable. At WJI’s summer course, you will learn how to hone your writing skills for God’s glory. Journalists and editors who’ve spent decades reporting at home and abroad will grow and challenge you. You can actually get paid to write history’s rough draft, and WJI prepares you for that experience. You’ll witness firsthand social and political settings you might never have been able to access otherwise.”

I met the women in Orange City where remnants of the recent Tulip Festival was still evident on a nice, finally, spring day. Rebekah and Micaela had many questions to which I probably only had a few answers and hope my sharing stories and experiences benefited them a little bit.

Families take photos of still blooming tulips at Windmill Park near downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Tulips still bloom a week after the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Students from the workshop were scattered about the region covering stories of interest, and maybe of near interest as I heard of disappointing almost happened stories that fell through and the students were scrambling to fulfill their assignments.

And there were probably other opportunities for stories in Orange City as it seemed especially busy that Saturday morning I visited with them which is a good thing, because I have been there previously when it was more quiet.

A young boy twirls a flag as he walks in downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family prepares to take photos of three people inside the Wooden Shoe at Windmill Park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Having previously worked for a few different small community newspapers I always enjoyed doing stories in small towns. Again, getting a chance to learn about a place and its residents and sharing their stories with their neighbors and friends. One never knows who one might meet or what story might unfold if you take the time to listen and ask about people’s experiences. And hopefully these two young women and their colleagues spent a fruitful two weeks learning and refining their own skills and creating the kinds of mistakes one only wants to make once as they strive to become storytellers, better listeners, and empathetic to those entrusting them with shared tales.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participant, Micaela, photographs a subject she and partner Rebekah just interviewed in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, right and Micaela, left, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Taking a Peek Inside Siouxland, Danforth Chapel USD Vermillion, SD

19 Apr

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shad on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion a few times, sometimes for events and other times to just enjoy the ambiance. I have walked by the Danforth Chapel numerous times and enjoy the small church. And then recently found that one could actually take a peek inside. A student of a Photo Safari class of mine said a sister was married inside the chapel and it seemed smaller that what she remembered as a young girl.

Light and shade on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was amazing walking into the chapel because of the stained glass windows and with bright spring sunshine the inside became alive with color.

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always tell students that no matter how many times one may visit a place, there can always be something different or new that pops up. And to me that just increases the joy of photography and what wonders await for a photo adventure.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

27 Jan

While driving about Siouxland I always enjoy looking at architecture. I have never taken an appreciation class, like is offered for art (although I never took one of those either) but enjoy the symmetry that is visually there. And I tend to like more traditional architecture than ultra modern, but it depends on the day, the amount of coffee I have consumed and my mood. Siouxland is defined by more traditional architecture than larger American cities having developed in those formative years of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when that architecture was popular. But it all has it’s place and it is nice to have a smorgasbord of building types to view. And maybe I just need to get out more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature and man’s buildings on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Repetition in arches at the Estelle Siebens Science Center on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Art in Siouxland, Buena Vista University

11 Jan

Student artwork on display in the Social Sciences and Art Hall at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Whenever I am in a college town traveling about Siouxland, and there are a few, I always like to stop into that institution’s art department building and see what students are creating. It’s always a joy. Whether photography, sculpture, or painting. It’s nice to see a person’s take on life. And during a visit to the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was also struck by where the art was seen. I assumed it was time to change the pieces on display and so some waited on the floor until they are hung. That to me created another dynamic in art. It’s display. I found it just as interesting even though I assumed this would not be for the duration. It still gave me pause and got me to think about presentation. And certainly got my attention.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Understanding Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

9 Jan

Many times I have visited the community of Storm Lake where Buena Vista University is located. It’s a nice looking campus, situated near a lake and a city park and contains many interesting elements in and of itself. One place on campus I have not checked out what a science center.

Natural science items on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Alaskan brown bear on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students learn science by doing according to online information. I was surprised by the number of stuffed animals on display, as well as a few skeletal remains exhibited too. Walking by classrooms and viewing the taxidermy students seemed very engaged in their learning process. And seeing items posted in a hallway it seems students get a chance to put their theory into practice. Posted photos showed students in the field learning and performing field tasks.

The skeletal remains of a white rhinoceros on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of animal busts on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally love education. There is all sorts to be had, not all of which requires an extended amount of time studying in institutions of higher learning. But my own college education was something I still draw from to this day. The experiences, people, both student and instructor and for the first time using my noodle to decipher and understand a much larger world around me than I could even imagine growing up at home. While I might not have directly used my higher education in pursuit of my career, its foundation and learning the ability to critically think and understand and improve my comprehension of various matters have helped me immensely as I have traveled through life. And I also find that even though my collegiate years are decades behind me, I am still learning and striving to critically assess and understand life events that unfold around me and help inform me to better understand the world I am living in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skeletal remains of an African elephant on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man and Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

24 Dec

I always like seeing objects in juxtaposition to one another and how, mostly differences, can stand out if one takes the time to notice. During a trip to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was admiring one of the campus buildings and its sleek modern glass and steel look. Situated within an area of trees that were turning color.

Seeing the contrast between nature and a building of glass and steel, the Estelle Siebens Science Center, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man’s relationship with nature is a complicated one. At least it seems to have become that way. Some folk just want to strip nature bare and reap whatever profits are there for the taking without being good land stewards and without much thought, leaving that heavy lifting to someone else. In some places planners seemed to realize the two need to work in harmony and attempt to make that happen. Whether it is successful or not depends on who is viewing and if they are paying any attention. Either from the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature outside, maybe looking in the glass and steel building on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Perspective in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm lake

12 Nov

No matter how many times I visit a place in Siouxland, I always find something I have missed or want to revisit. And sometimes I find myself using the compositional technique of framing to help solidify what I want a viewer to see. Other times its placement of a subject within a frame using negative space to help reinforce where a viewer’s eye should go. But then again, a viewer might disagree with me. But I always enjoy the challenge and better yet, just getting out and revisiting a place and breathing some fresh air and enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Checking out views through the Victory Arch of the Schaller Memorial Chapel on campus at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Victory Arch on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A poem on a bronze plaque affixed to the Victory Arch asking students to do well but be their own beacons of light and freedom as they graduate from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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