All about me!…and UAHuntsville of course.

Hey Chargers!

Can you believe that it’s already the 4th week of school? By now, everyone should be settled into their schedule and stressing over what their final grade will be. Oooops where are my manners, I’m Cassandra a junior psychology major sociology minor. I love hanging out with my friends, my family and my two dogs.  I actually enjoy reading a good book over watching TV. (Yes, I’m a nerd). I’ve been stressing about Fall semester since last Spring.


Yes, I love UAHuntsville; in case you were wondering.  This university has so much to offer from exciting HPE classes to challenging (but interesting) classes. If you live on campus you already know about the awesome residence halls! I live in North, the best upper-classmen residence hall on campus. If I’m late for class or a meeting I’m only about 5-10 min away depending on the location of such. I’m not a morning person whatsoever so I benefit from the extra 10-15 min snooze time I get from living on campus.


Let’s see….what am I looking forward to this semester? Glad you asked! I’m striving to make all A’s this semester (which isn’t looking to bright thanks to my Psych stats class), making it a priority to go to the gym consistently this entire semester (which is going well) and making new friends. Seems pretty legit, huh? Well we all know with hard work comes failures. I just try to roll with the punches and keep trying. Plus if we never fail, how will we know how to succeed?  Think about it!  Until next time…Charge On!


Categories: Career, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

A Charger Newbie

I’m so excited to be writing for the Charger Nation blog, and would like to begin by sharing a little about myself.

I’m here at UAHuntsville as a Junior, but it’s been 8 years since my sophomore year, so I consider myself an “old newbie”. I’m majoring in Management, and leaning towards Information Systems. I’m a mother of 5 kiddos who inspire me to work harder than I ever have before. I have a passion for reading, though I must admit that the past few years it’s been mostly children’s books. I also feed my creative side by sewing when I have free time, which hasn’t been much, as of late. I’d love to consider myself a coffee snob, but I can’t afford it, lol. I also believe bacon is the best food group. My husband of 15 years is incredibly supportive of everything I undertake and is cheering me on as I dive back into academia.

Beginning my first semester as a Charger has been amazing. I’ve met so many great people, from faculty to students and feel like I couldn’t have made a better choice than UAHuntsville.  My advisor, Cheryl Plaza, helped to spark my excitement before I even set foot on the campus.  She sincerely believes in her college and passes that enthusiasm to the students she works with.  My instructors have been so helpful, answering all my questions as I reacquaint myself with college life.

One of the things I’m looking forward to as the semester progresses is finding ways to become more involved in what’s going on around the campus. There are so many things to do, and ways to find them. I’m following every UAHuntsville related Twitter I could find, added all the great Facebook pages and even checked out their Maptin app online.  This is definitely a college that feeds every aspect of the student’s life. Theater, music, technology, and even food…it’s all right here.  I have friends that are a little jealous because they chose a different school, but I’m really happy with my choice.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Categories: UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

“This is the post that never ends…

…yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people, started singin’ it not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singin’ it forever just because…”

Hi there everyone! It has been 3 months since the epic trip out to Romania. I miss my classmates a lot, and reminisce on my fond memories.  A few of them still keep in contact. For that, I am grateful.

So you wonder what have I been up to? Since my return, I had to write a report and take an exam to complete the Study Abroad course. Because that was my last class, in August, I officially met all of the requirements for graduation!!! So yay me [Suite Life of Zack and Cody reference there...], I’m done! At least for awhile… I need a break after all of this studying/schooling/homelife/working schedule. Then for labor day weekend, I went to DragonCon – it was a very jam-packed weekend with many, many people in Atlanta. I recommend everybody go at least once in their life.

But saying the happy part that I am done leads me to a sad part. Because I graduated, I will not be able to blog for UAH anymore (the whole “student” status goes away once you complete school). I encourage all of you to keep in contact with me  for any questions, comments, or just to say hi. I will try to submit a guest blog from time to time, and of course, I will be at UAH for commencement, alumni events, and the like. If you would like to contact me, my email address will be as follows:

Thanks for reading, and all the best of luck to you!

Categories: Graduate Studies, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

Yeah I’m new, but not that awkward.

Hey! I’m Elizabeth! I’m a sophomore and I am absolutely loving it here at UAHuntsville!

Things I like to do: trying new art mediums, figure skating, volunteering, backstage work for productions, making lame jokes and playing around like a 3 yr old.  I’m a Graphic Design major (technically Studio Art) and I’m hoping to do the BFA program as well as the Web Cognate.


This semester I am extremely excited for…… well, alot actually.


Empower leadership program:  Volunteering, meetings, and people (I love volunteering for events and things, there’s alaways lots of networking, plus its good work experience, that people let you in on for free).  I love my Empower people and am lucky to be in the same program with them.


My intro to graphic design class:  I was told by my prof that we’re going to make t-shirts with robots on them that reflect our personalities, and later, design our own skateboard decks (why YES I’m excited).


Art club:  We’ve been talking about a New York trip for a while, so we’ll see how much closer we’ll get to that goal this year.


UAHuntsville Homecoming: I’m helping with advertising for TRUE Charger’s Movie Night. So sometime later this month I’ll be sent to run around campus like a mad man for putting up posters.  That will be interesting and so much fun! And I can’t wait to see the movie (don’t know if I can start telling, but the film is going to be Accepted!) I’ve never seen it myself before, so… yep!   #meetmeattheslab #BYOBlanket


But most importantly, I’m always looking forward to meeting new people!!  I’ve met a lot of interesting people through various random situations, including one time that involved a huge hoop skirt I borrowed from the theatre department.  I needed it for a volunteer thing in the UC.  Then I ended up meeting a lady who asked me about the dress and told me that she participates in Civil War reenactments up in Tennessee.  Stuff like that.  So its kinda fun actually.


Cool beans, and Charge ON!

Categories: Art, Social Life, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

Day 14 – The End?

How did we ever get to this day? Is this really the last day in our two-week class already? Impossible. But here we are, at the Senate Hall, almost a déjà vu of the first day. This time, each student is asked to share our thoughts on our experiences. Each faculty member also says a few words, then Rector Folcut hands out the certificates and shakes each student’s hand. We go outdoors to take pictures with everyone.

Before dinner Alexandra promises to take us to a store where she purchased her traditional Romanian shirt. Becca, Molly, Randi, Emily, Ami, and I go there and ransack the place as if we found a New York City closeout sale. All of the prices are the most reasonable I saw compared to those in the shopping districts. I find a red traditional dress modeled by the mannequin in the front window; it fits perfectly! I find a few other shirts keeping in mind of the women in my family. While Alex tries on a shirt and a dress, Emily and I purchase it for her in thankfulness. We look at a few more stores around the area, and even a shoe store with every different color combination in every style you can fathom: teal and purple, red and green, blue and black – unreal for westerners, but very normal for Romanians.

I return to RAU with my new goodies and other students who did not go inquire about my purchases. I show them my dress, and they collectively determine that I MUST wear it for tonight’s dinner. I grimace in reply but do so anyways. As a person who likes to wear only one outfit for the day (and jeans and a t-shirt is my favorite go-to outfit), prior to this dress, I already changed my wardrobe twice and am lazy when it comes to “gussying up” for an occasion.

We head to the 18 Restaurant, located at a tall building near the university. And as its name denotes, it is on the 18th floor. There is a marvelous view, but like all places of Romania and because it is located at the top, it is a tad warm for me. We take pictures like fiends loving the paparazzi, and enjoy ordered drinks and the buffet style dinner. There is mention of possible dancing here, but the dinner ends before it ever starts. The professors speak to one another, and so do the students. We get a chance to say goodbye to one another, but none of the students want to leave. Horia suggests and organizes to go to a pub/restaurant for more refreshments that he claims is nearby. I have been on this trip for 14 days, and know a European’s definition of nearby is not the same as the Americans. However, myself, and the others with uncomfortable shoe wear, grin our teeth and bear it for the sake of the group. Part of me hopes it translates to mean a five minute walk. This walk is twenty, in the deep nested areas of the park. Once we arrive, we sit and do our best to cool and not get stung by more mosquitoes. I turn on the anti-mosquito fan I carry everywhere after bitten students ask me to. Then I order a delicious juice of apple, lime, and caramel. It is sweet and I reminisce nostalgically of my childhood schooldays licking caramel apple lollipops.

When we finish, there are those who decide to keep the night alive further. The time approaches 2300, Ami and I are fatigued. Because she has a flight to make waking her at 0400 and I have not yet packed, both of us return to the school together. All of us say our goodbyes, hug and kiss (in the European fashion) one another, and promise to keep in touch. Although I am most sad of this moment and it is the end of our two weeks, I am confident we will keep in touch. I am also very grateful for this experience and though I miss it all, I really just see this as the beginning…


Here is a pic of Ana Maria and I on the last day.

Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville

Day 13 – Springtime near IKEA

While students are still trying to gather their last minute souvenirs, I am in search of dinner again. Today, Leo has free time off to take us around. Emily and I go with him to Springtime (, a Romanian-based fast food chain. He tells us that the owner created the restaurant in the early 1990s after observing how well Romanians responded to other fast food restaurants. However, instead, the founder did extensive market research to find what food types the people were interested in consuming. The chain has grown to 26 franchises, all with varied food items such as Middle-Eastern shawarma, Italian pastas and pizzas, American burgers, salads, desserts, and premium grade coffee. These, with the combination of Springtime’s policy to use fresh local vegetables and meat keeps this restaurant in business, and will continue to do so for many years to come. After dinner, Leo leaves, and Emily and I walk to IKEA, a Swedish based store known to serve customers affordable and stylish furniture at a low price. Though most of their design is extremely compact and fashionable, most all of their items are made from cheap materials not known to last very long (particle board, plastics, etc.). This is Emily’s first IKEA visit, so I do my best to be her tour guide.

Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

Day 12 – Caru Cu Bere

After class is over I decide to stay in my room because I am chosen as group lead for our homework group (Team 3). Tomorrow in class our team will meet and negotiate with a mock United Arab Emirates group (Team 4). Our team is a firm from Italy that manufactures and sells timber from Romania. This exercise is to introduce us to the different cultures and business practices and to strike a deal with one another. I am preparing mock contract agreements, emailing the counter-offer of our partnership, and creating faux business cards for each of the team members. The other students venture to the Peasant Museum’s gift shop nearby to purchase souvenirs.

For dinner the students, the UAH faculty, and Dr. Potecea meet us at Caru cu Bere, one of the oldest beerhouses of Bucharest. It started in 1879, along with its house beer, a secret recipe. The building itself is even stunning; there is a wooden spiral staircase that leads to the top, wood and carvings adorn every area of the walls, and paintings help decorate the scene. Bucharest once in its lifetime was known as “little Paris” and this restaurant still lives up to that name.

Before dinner begins, Adellina, (who calls me her “little sister”, but do not let that pet name fool you, as I am at least 6 years her senior) grabs my arm and wants me to meet her boyfriend and best friend. They tell me in well spoken English that they heard so much about me from her. Adellina is one of the sweetest and most beautiful students I meet on the trip, and then she kisses both her friend (in the European manner of two kisses that are artificially blown to the cheeks) and her boyfriend to bid them adieu for the night.

Dinner is delightful, again full of meats, cheeses, and the like. And for dessert, we have the pleasure of papanasi again. Except this time, everyone’s plate has two of each on it! None of us can eat more than one though I am sure we wanted to! Joshua looks at this monstrous sweet in a bit of disgust and says the favorite and most memorable line of the trip: “There’s more sour cream on my papanasi than I put on my baked potato!”

Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

Day 11 – Mia’s Children

Prior to our trip, the class mentioned that we are interested in going to an orphanage. Horia works closely with one of them, so he arranges the trip for the evening. RAU drivers take us there, and Dr. Potecea and Horia bring us back. During the weekend trip, Horia mentioned to me that there were many numerous orphanages, but Mia Scarlat’s was the best. Her strong nature and savvy background make the orphanage work efficiently, and those who are in her care are inspired to perform their best and become successful. Mia taught herself English, mostly through the 3 month timeframe she spent with the Castle family in Tennessee. She then served as an interpreter to U.S. groups that aid Romanian orphanages. In her younger years, she was a dancer, and before starting the organization, she was a teacher. This combined with her love for children is the glue that holds everything together. The children are obedient, beautiful, and eager to learn. Her previous and current children are national winners, college graduates, grateful and graceful citizens.

With the money gathered from the students, we bring eggs, honey, juice, jams, and other food supplies she is in need of. In return, as we walk in, the students thank us and tell us hello. They know few words in English, but they are impressive during our first few minutes of meeting them. They sing us songs, play hand-games with us after shaking our hands, and are gathered for story-time.

She details stories on how a lot of them were abused, abandoned, and even used as child sex slaves. Mia detailed to us how difficult it is transforming them to understand physically and emotionally that they are loved unconditionally and all children should get a chance to know and live a normal childhood. She gives us a tour, and speaks fondly of her husband whom she lost three years ago; he was like a father to the children and Mia’s partner in work. Some of the orphans call Mia their mother, because her love and the way she cares for them is exactly that. I do my best to fight away tears that well up in admiration of her strength, and in sadness and shame our modern world still faces obstacles to be able to provide basic necessities and humane treatment to innocent children. It does not work, and the tear ducts let it pour like a rainy day in April.

Before we leave, we are given gifts made by the children. They are framed cross-stitch works, and mine is of a yellow giraffe. I hug the picture and hold it next to my heart. We give hugs to all of the students and depart. On the drive back, Dr. Potecea even admits he was a bit uneasy about going to his first orphanage, as there are many Gypsy children there. After he spends time with them, he is impressed that the children of Roma blood do not have the associated Gypsy accent he expected and are excelling far beyond the average Romanian’s expectations. Everyday since, I am thinking of them and ways that I can help do my part to assist them from afar.

We return after the Cantina has closed, and are famished. I am in the mood for sushi, as our classmates recommend it. Emily, Ami, and I take one taxi together towards the Baneasa. The taxi driver drives us in an unfamiliar direction, and points out the Piazza; a place we hadn’t been to, but a shopping area too. We tell him that this is incorrect, and we eventually drive back to the Baneasa. This takes the entire trip backwards, and he flirts with all of us during the entire trip. In our conversation we find out that he is 37, unmarried, has 2 sons, has a sister in Italy, and wants to come back to the USA with us. We politely decline while hysterically laughing at his attempts. Thirty-five Lei later ($10 USD), we arrive and everyone is too hungry to sit and wait for sushi. My cohorts settle on fast food, and I disappointingly order a fish sandwich from Nordsee.  For dessert, Carly purchases and wants to try macaroons and gelato. She shares with me to try her cherry pistachio gelato, and a piece of each of the macaroons: caramel, lychee rose, and coconut.

Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

Day 10 – Hard Rock Cafe Bucharest

We’ve been here for 10 days and strange that we have not eaten any American food other than the time Ami and I ventured into a McDonalds. We hear good things about the Hard Rock Café a few blocks away near the entrance of the park. Ami, Emily, and Carly get a taxi to take them there. Because professor Hickman and I do not see another taxi coming, we start walking in that direction. A pizza delivery man who used to live in England but returned to his homeland takes us there part of the way. But he lets us out in an area that requires the same distance to walk as if we came from the school. Once we get there, the others already asked for drinks. I order an extremely beautiful fruit smoothie made up of strawberry and mango puree called the Groupie Grind. For dinner we split calamari, I order a side of macaroni and cheese, and a side of broccoli. Oh broccoli, how I missed you on this trip. Everything is better now. As we try to get the last bit ketchup out of the Heinz bottle for someone’s fries, Professor Hickman shows us a trick to get the remnants towards the cap. It involves him forcefully swinging the bottle while holding it upside down, and this happens a few feet away from a nearby waiter. The waiter sees him, and now is scared of Mr. Hickman and the bottle, and entertainingly tries to ignore us in jokingly fear. As our seats are in front of a window, the waiter comes by with a bottle of ketchup, and a sign written with red permanent marker reading “Beware! I will ketch (you) up!” Beware indeed.

Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

Day 9 – Pizzalicious!!!

After eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel the group is free to do whatever until lunch at 1400. All of us walk the streets of Brasov to shop, look around more landmarks, and see the sights. I purchase Romanian traditional pottery bowls, and a pair of earrings. I also buy Adellina and Ana a hairclip, both different to fit their personality. For Adellina, I choose a purple rose hairclip, as she reminds me of a Spanish flamenco dancer. For Ana, I dawdle between a teal-color bow clip, and a purple one. We eventually settle that the purple one matches her style, a gift so she can remember me by. We sit to refresh with drinks after awhile, and on my way towards this restaurant, a poor ill-dressed and dirty child walks by and starts speaking to me in Romanian. To make him go away, I keep telling him “Nu inteleg!” He continues to try to tell a sob story to get money. Eventually he goes away in defeat. Eugen tells me I sounded expressively upset when I told the child I didn’t understand Romanian, and that it’s best to ignore the child beggars. I reply that I was upset because the boy interrupted my conversation with him, and that he chose the wrong person to plead to. Furthermore, as we keep walking the streets, a middle-aged woman points at me, then makes gestures of dancing, and yells in excitement “Yesterday, you dance!” Oh my, I cannot go anywhere in this country without being easily recognized.

Once we make it to another late lunch, I find out that it is most common to eat lunch in Romania at 1400. We are at Sergiana this time. They first serve us a meat and cheese plate, followed by sărmăluţe cu mămăligă. Sarmalute represents the meat encased in cabbage, and mamaliga is Romania’s version of polenta. I do not remember what the dessert is called, but it tasted what was reminiscent of an apple pie (plăcintă cu mere perhaps?).

After the meal we make our way to the Rasnov Citadel. Most of us are tired still from the night before, and with the use of energy in the morning and early afternoon, we are already spent. However, we truck our way to the entrance and look around anyways. Near the entrance I find an old man playing the violin. I have Ramona ask him if I can borrow it to play as I miss mine at home. He allows me to play a few tunes on it, telling me to speed up the tempo. Eventually we go in, only to find that it is what it is; ruins. Broken rubble, dangerous walking areas, and beautiful views from atop are all around us. Although the views are breathtaking, we witnessed many mountain-top views yesterday. This particular trip lacks a tour guide to explain historical milestones and safe areas to walk around. There are a few vendors open, a wishing well, and even an archery station. Professor Hickman is the first to try it, and other students like Ramona  and Horia give it a try as well. As there is only so many times I can watch this, a few of us get a head start towards the exit. During the wait, I get a bottle of water to drink, and the musician hands me his violin again to play. When a new bus of tourists return, he takes it back as he has to make his daily earnings. Before jumping onto the bus, professor Hickman purchases a dessert to share, Kürtőskalács. Its Hungarian name indicates a chimney cake; the yeasted bread is funneled atop of a rolling pin-like mechanism, and set on top of charcoal to bake while rotating on a spit. It is then covered in cinnamon sugar and ready for eating. It is delicious! It reminds me of a large churro.

As we drive back to RAU, I give arm and hand massages to relax and calm my classmates. They fall asleep immediately. For those who are still awake, we play a word game called Turkey. The first player starts off with a word, and then the next person has to use the last two characters of the word to be the beginning letters of the first word. For example, if the first person chooses “perch” then the next person can choose a word like “chair.” If the word ends in “ng”, the next person gets a strike, and takes the first letter “t” of turkey. The next strike is a “u,” and this continues until this person is struck-out. All I can say is, I was not the first person struck out, nor the last to be crowned winner.

Perhaps we come back later than anticipated; we did not stop for any restroom breaks nor dinner during our drive back. When we return, all of the UAH students are starving. A few of us decide that we want to order pizza so we do not have to go anywhere, and let the food come to us. Finding the right pizza place is difficult, and then finding someone who can relay what we want creates even more problems. A student that orders for us misunderstood. We attempt to order two large pizzas with pepperoni, and one with cheese. What we receive is two large pizzas with peppers and pepperoni, and one with cheese. I do not care what toppings they are, but this has a few of our classmates discouraged and upset. At this point, I am ready to eat whatever pizza comes my way.  


Categories: Graduate Studies, Social Life, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, What Matters

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