Your Own Photography Business

Hope Hawley

As a college student I know it can be hard to work and go to school full-time. Let me tell you about an option that you can do on your own time that works around your school schedule 100%. This option will also help you by building your skill level and introduce you to something that for most becomes more than just a hobby. Now how do I know all of this you may ask? Well, I’ve been doing it for a long time — about 6 years now.

Now you may be wondering what this working option is, the answer to that is photography. I recently lost my job and I started doing my own photography again and it has been amazing. I have been able to focus on school and still bring home the bacon. Photography is always in high demand because there will always be holidays, birthdays, and events — and people who want their pictures taken. Now if you’ve never done photography, don’t jump the gun — let me give you a few pointers to help you get started.

The first thing you need and really the only thing that will cost a little money is a camera. There are numerous brands of cameras, but I prefer Canon. The T3i and T5i are two of the best cameras in my opinion. Yes, these are expensive, but there are ways around paying full price, plus you can make the money you spend right back once you start taking pictures. My best advice is to go to your local pawn shops and look, because chances are they have some for sale cheap or negotiable. Before you jump straight into taking pictures I advise you to take a few tutorials about your camera and get to know it, and really become familiar with all of the buttons and features.

The next most important thing is backgrounds or locations. Some people do the whole paper backdrop thing but I think it’s a 1,000 % better if you take pictures outside with natural backgrounds. So what I suggest is picking a day that’s nice outside and just driving around your town and finding places that you think serve as good scenery and backgrounds. You could even take your camera and take pictures of them to see your lighting with the different times of day and locations.

Finally, you really just need to get your work out there. I would offer a few free sessions and then advertise, advertise, advertise. A good way to do this is social media. When you post some of your work on Facebook you get your name out there and more people will start booking you. Now you do have to come up with a price scale. There are many ways to set your price points so I’ll leave that to you.

Photography is something that will always be around whether it be used digitally or through print. This is something that you can do and you are your own boss, you set your schedule, and you determine your pay. It takes some time to get good at it if you want it to be your life long career but it’s worth it.

“To Infinity and Beyond”

Rebekah Drennon

Have you ever dreamed of having a job at the “Happiest Place on Earth?” Where going to work means putting smiles on faces young and old? Then after a long day, lying back and watching some of the most extravagant firework shows in the world? As Cinderella famously put it, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” If this sounds like a dream you’ve been having, your heart could be wishing for a spot as a cast member in the Disney College Program! By the way, this opportunity is open to ladies AND gentlemen out there!

As magical as this program may be, getting in isn’t as easy as “Bippity Boppity Boo.” Each year there are a whopping 50,000 students that apply, and only 5-10,000 are accepted. However, this doesn’t mean to go into this process with an Eeyore attitude! In fact, Texarkana’s own, Jordan Tidwell, just returned from this very internship.

“What should I do before I apply?” is the most important part of the application process. Even though this is an awesome opportunity, be aware that you could be moving up to 1,600 miles away from your family for up to eight months. So if you are a daddy’s girl, like Belle, or a mama’s boy, like Tarzan, this might be something worth evaluating. Keep in mind that colleges have different requirements for the program, so talk to your academic advisor before beginning the process. Disney recommends only taking up to two classes at a time, preferably one online class through your college, and one class offered at Disney. The “Disney Look” is a big deal for many people. They require cast members to look clean, polished, and natural. This means no crazy hair colors, and wild makeup is NOT acceptable. You can review exact requirements at Also, take into consideration that there is a fee you have to pay within ten days of your acceptance. The Orlando fee is roughly $400, while the Anaheim fee is in the $900 range. More importantly than all of these, ask yourself if this program is right for you. Will you benefit within your major or your future career from participating? If the answer is yes, I cordially invite you to continue reading.

Congratulations! You have decided to be one of the many to take a shot at this chance of a lifetime. So when do you apply? Spring applications open in August and close in October, and Fall applications open in February and close in March. So be on the lookout, because Disney never gives the exact date! Let’s go over some of the job opportunities. Some of the most popular roles as a college program cast member are attractions, custodial, character attendant, lifeguard, and merchandise. Before applying, check out all positions offered!

Let’s move on to the application process. To begin, go to and click the big green button that says APPLY NOW. It will have you create an account and then your application appears. It will ask you some pretty general stuff like your name, college, major, and etc. After this, you will be asked to select which jobs you are open to having on a scale of highly interested, moderately interested, and not interested. Some advice from Zoe Iscas, a former cast member is, “Even if you would prefer not to work a job, select it anyway. You can create magic with any role given at Disney. Recruiters like openness. By the way, custodial isn’t as bad as it sounds. You get to walk around the parks freely all day, and talk to guests as much as you want without a script.” Then comes the part that matters most. You will be asked to list all of your work experiences and how they benefitted you. Each application is reviewed thoroughly before they offer you an opportunity to move further in the process. So list every job you’ve ever had. From community service to working as a hostess at your local restaurant. Now it’s time to click submit! Usually within a few hours you will receive a response email. It will say either “Thank you for your interest (that’s the email you don’t want to get)” or “Immediate Action Required Web-Based Interview.”

“Hooray!” You have made it to the next step, a web based interview. You are expected to complete this within three days of the email. It is suggested to complete it the day upon receiving. Allot at least an hour and a half for this section. The Web Based Interview is basically a way for Disney to figure out if your personality and work ethic would correspond well with the company, so answer honestly. The biggest advice from former applicants is to use strong answers. Disney likes you to be sure of yourself. For example, if you are asked “Are you generally a positive person?” Either put “Strongly Agree” or “Strongly Disagree.” Don’t settle with “Agree.” However, if your answer to that question is “Strongly Disagree,” Disney might not be the best fit for you. Also, don’t over think or freak out. Yes, this portion is timed, but, they give you an ample amount of time to complete it. Some say this is the most stressful part of the process, because you are immediately denied or accepted for continuation upon completion.

If you have made it to this point, you are probably doing a happy dance in front of your computer, or running through the house full of joy. Why? You have been asked to schedule a phone interview! This is the final step before you take your carpet ride to the Magic Kingdom. Recruiters can call 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after your scheduled time, and interviews last 15-20 minutes. This means you need to allot at least an hour for your interview. Schedule it for a time of day you have your best attitude, and when you will not be disturbed. When they call, answer with an upbeat voice. “It sounds silly, but make sure to smile during your interview. It gives off a good vibe, and your recruiter can tell,” this advice from a former cast member. Also, always remember to call your recruiter by name. Be open to suggestions, seem invested, and DO NOT sound scripted. It is okay to research possible questions, but don’t keep answers fully written out. You want responses to come from your heart, not paper. Last but not least, have a super fantastic answer for “Why do you want to be a participant in the Disney College Program?” This will define your entire interview. Once you hang up the phone, there is nothing more you can do. You could be waiting for a final decision for up to a month. Keep in mind that this process is one long waiting game.

If you are not accepted, don’t be discouraged. You can re-apply during the next recruiting season. Always remember, like Mulan, you will bring honor to your family no matter the outcome.

After all of this, if you are accepted, get ready to go “to infinity and beyond!” for an internship you will remember for a lifetime.

Netflix is the New Black

Stephen Jones

In response to a RBC Capital Markets survey, over 51% of participants said they used Netflix watch television shows and/or movies. Just surpassing YouTube, the streaming service is now the most popular streaming site, beating out Hulu, Amazon, and HBO Go. This rise in consumer usage is possibly due to some of its critically-acclaimed original programming, including: “House of Cards,” “Daredevil,” and “Orange is the New Black.” Thanks to overwhelming reviews from fans and critics alike, Netflix’s original programming has amassed 78 Emmy nominations and 12 wins. Another aspect of Netflix’s appeal is its original comedy specials showcasing some of the world’s most popular comedians such as Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. Looking at this diverse selection of content, Netflix’s mass appeal should be of no surprise.

Compared to cable and satellite subscription prices, Netflix’s most popular plan of $9.99/month is music to the consumers’ ears. Also, the ability to watch on multiple mobile devices at one time only adds to the accessibility this generation of instant-gratification desperately craves. Some cable networks, like Showtime, are trying to integrate the convenience Netflix boasts through mobile apps, but these on-the-go apps require an active subscription to its cable counterpart; thus, nullifying the inexpensive allure Netflix possesses. In contrast to other cable networks, HBO introduced a streaming service requiring no previous subscription to its satellite network. This new endeavor, named HBO Now, was launched in April of 2015 and garnering over 1 million subscribers in about three months. Hopefully, HBO’s success in adapting to the “cord-cutting” trend will influence other cable networks to follow suit.

Thanks to the streaming service’s overwhelming content variety, simple accessibility, and 69 million subscribers, Netflix is set to become an even bigger force of change in the media world.

David Shipler Reports on the Working Poor

Garrett Griffin

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

What if a major issue in the world was almost entirely ignored because people just don’t see it? Such is the case with the poor in the United States. Poverty is an often understated and largely ignored issue in the United States. We tend to overlook it since we see the number of poor in the poorest countries and in comparison to them our problem doesn’t seem as pad. In truth many of the poor, as David Shipler stated are “invisible” because they are constantly “working.” We have more poor than we think, but since we do not often see them on the streets and elsewhere in our normal day-to-day activities, the problem is invisible to us.

Mr. Shipler, a Pulitzer-prize winning former foreign correspondent and bureau chill for The New York Times, says addressing poverty is similar to “connecting the dots.” Without the connecting lines it is nothing more than a scattered constellation with no tangible meaning or useful interpretation. Without a good understanding of the problem, how can one hope to address it? It can’t be, which brings us to Shipler’s explanation of some of the larger stars in the constellation of poverty. Crossing the poverty line is similar to a minefield. One misstep can send you back to square one. Because of this, according to Shipler, the ability for one to make the path out of poverty usually requires good luck and fortune, since pure determination will usually not get you out of the pit of poverty.

Dr. David Shipler having a discussion with students at the informal luncheon earlier that day.

Dr. David Shipler (far left) having a discussion with students at the informal luncheon earlier that day.

Shipler, who spent the day on the campus of Texas A&M Texarkana on November 10th, says “poverty” is the still picture and “debt” is the moving picture. Poverty is not static and results in accumulating debts for simple things such as food and water, items most Americans take for granted. Those who are in poverty are not aware of this. Shipler says this is because poverty is relative. If you are surrounded by poverty with it being all you see, your place in the visible community is not at the bottom, but equal to everyone else. This life of always living in poverty can lend itself to a sense of “learned ‘hopelessness’” whereby, people don’t want to try an advance themselves because they have an inherited sense of no hope for the future. Advancement within the affluent society, that they stand on the edge looking in on, is nearly impossible and rationally non-attainable.

Shipler says the poor often wear the “camouflage of work.” This lends itself to invisible to mainstream society. The reason no one sees the poor in America is because they are the waitress, the women at the drycleaners, the cashier at the restaurant where they are putting on their façade for work: the uniform. If seen in the context of their home, one could see the true state of the hardworking, unseen poor.

If a child remains poor through his middle and junior high years of schooling, a child’s dream for the future, a future where he or she is not poor, dies. This is why numerous children drop out of school once this dream is crushed and enter the workforce to continue the decades-old cycle of working to just survive.

Eagle Hall is a hive of activity as Dr. Nakashian prepare to make his introduction at Dr. Shipler's presentation.

Eagle Hall is a hive of activity as Dr. Nakashian prepare to make his introduction at Dr. Shipler’s presentation.

Shipler gives one reason for the difficulty of addressing the issue of poverty is in its very structure. Rather than existing as a culture in society Shipler says in reality it has more in common to an ecological system with all of its intricacies, lending to a simple fix not existing for the problem.

One of the key links in the cyclical nature of poverty, says Shipler, is the issue of housing. Research shows when the bill for rent comes due and money is tight as usual the food budget is the first to be cut back. The reduced amount of food in the early stages of childhood can lead to developmental issues with children particularly neurological maturity. This can lead to bad choices perhaps being made by these underdeveloped children, bad choices that strengthen the grip poverty has on the families that originate form poorer communities.

Another issue affecting the poor comes when they apply for a job. People can develop a fear of work when they have had numerous failures. Such fear can keep people from ever applying for jobs and keeping them form taking the first step out of poverty. In Shipler’s interviews with people to compile his book he often saw the issue of fear come up in conversation with the interviewees. Its prevalence leads Shipler to assert that the issue is real and haunting.

Shipler’s ideas bring up an important issue for discussion. The poor in America are a forgotten group. Pushed to the side, left out in the open with no visible safety net. Federal programs exist to help combat the issue but a majority of those are under-utilized as of a direct campaign by those in charge to keep expenditures down why still taking the credit for providing such programs. Texas A&M University- Texarkana is proud to have hosted such an important discussion on such an important issue. The University hopes to be a forum for numerous future discussions on equally important issues.

Welcome to YouTube Red

The tech behemoth, Google, has announced a paid-subscription service to the most popular video streaming platform, YouTube. For over ten years, YouTube has been a worldwide phenomenon through its massive amounts of content anyone can create and watch almost anywhere. Perhaps the biggest chapter in YouTube’s short history is Google’s acquisition of the website in November of 2006 for $1.65 billion. Not soon after, in May 2007, YouTube introduced its Partner Program, allowing ad revenue to be distributed between Youtube (45%) and the content producer (55%). The company and content producers alike saw this as an opportunity to improve the quality of the videos, but YouTube garnered some criticism for the unavoidable advertisements put at the beginning, or the middle, of many videos, and the launch of YouTube Red may bring up even more criticism than before.

From the mobile app to their Cardboard virtual reality, YouTube has always prided itself as a service dedicated to enhancing the video-streaming experience for their viewers through constant adaptation, and YouTube Red is no different. With YouTube Red, subscribers will receive special features, including ad-free videos, the ability to save videos and music for offline access, or to keep videos or music playing outside of the YouTube app, an audio-only option through the YouTube Music app, and a Google Play Music subscription at no extra charge. After a 1-month free trial, all of these benefits will be available for $9.99/month.

Upon closer inspection, it seems Google is addressing many of the complaints about intrusive ads consumers have thrown their way, but some content creators might feel they are being put in a tough position. With the launch of YouTube Red, any Partner Program member will be expected to sign up for YouTube Red, or all their videos will not be available to the public.

It is too soon to decide whether or not this new program will succeed in boosting content quality, but as always, Google is sure to draw a very polarizing reaction, as can be seen through the number of dislikes on this video announcing the new program.







Laney Davis

“I had a guy, one time, on the loop. He was riding a motorcycle extremely fast. He was driving at a very high-speed rate, and I was going the opposite way. Of course, my radar got him, and I turned around in the median and went back after him. He was drunk. I don’t know how he got on the motorcycle, much less drove it. I wasn’t even caught up to him. He was going that fast. He slowed down to make that curve, but he didn’t slow down enough.”

Edward Emilia, a middle aged native New Yorker, began his journey serving the United States right out of high school as a Marine. He believed that it was the right thing to do. He had military in his blood. His every life decision came naturally for him. Emilia served for four years and came to Texarkana to go to college where his family was. Texarkana and Texarkana College did not offer the opportunities that he was hoping for, his degree in Architectural Engineering did not work out, and he was struggling to find a job in the area.

At that time he was dating his present day wife, Tina, a Texarkana local. Emilia fortunately found a job working for the prison system down in South Texas. Emilia always has a positive outlook on life and thanks each bump in the road for it. His luck with job hunting and college gave him an inner competition of always staying optimistic and seeing the best in every situation.

He stayed at the prison for three years and even dealt with a national prison riot. Thankfully he was not injured. The ways of military were imbedded in him. Since he grew up around it, it was all he knew. “You come with a sense of duty and wanting to help people,” Emilia says, “They fall hand in hand.”

After his three-year milestone working for the prison, he found a job closer to home working for the city of Texarkana as a police officer. He has served for the city of Texarkana for over 29 years. After all of the crime he has dealt with over the span of his career, Emilia enforces that everyone must stay positive and keep a positive outlook in life, or it will get to you.

Emilia states that his family has been behind him every step of the way, and he could not do it without his wife, Tina, and his two daughters. He and his wife have been married for 30 years. His job working for the prison and for the city kept him away more than he bargained for. While serving the city, he was on the streets for nine years and seven years as a CID and Detective. Over a span of 29 years, he has seen a lot of crime and has had many close calls.

He loves his career path and having the opportunity to change lives. ”He slowed down to make the curve, but he didn’t slow down enough. He actually crashed his bike. Five or six years later, I was in bi state and guy came up to me. He shook my hand and thanked me. He said I had actually saved his life. It was the man who wrecked his bike. He had seen my lights in his mirror and began to slow down. If I wouldn’t have been there he could’ve died if he was going faster. Now he is totally off of alcohol.”

Emilia had decided it was time to retire until he heard about his current job. “When I retire, I don’t want to put another badge back on.” He was very hesitant about working here, but the benefits of Texarkana A&M sold it for him. He is still in culture shock after working as a campus police officer for over a year and a half.

Ed describes himself as a people person. His career path has actually changed his everyday habits and responses. He loves humor and has become more self-aware, open minded, and outgoing toward others.

Emilia loves his job working for Texas A&M. He says most of his job is customer service, and less crime. The first and primary thing is to protect life and property. Texas A&M has a very low crime rate. He gives a lot of advice to students on campus, and states that he always wants students to stay optimistic no matter what they are going through. If he can give some advice that works, that gives him an inner sense of peace. He knows one day a student will come to him with a story that will impact his life, and he is waiting. Emilia plans on retiring in 8 years and after being in the military, working for a prison, and serving for the city of Texarkana, he says this will be a breeze.

“Cops, for the most part — we do our jobs and go home, and we’re not there for the public to give us praise. We don’t thrive on it. Having a positive or negative outlook on life is up to the individual. I don’t let the negative get me down. I went through that period. The negative will eat you up. The positive will end up equaling out.”


FEATURE: International Journey to Success

Percy Davis

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful,” Albert Schweitzer. This is a quote that Jennifer Melissa Felps took with her through this journey we call life.

Jennifer was born in the “Windy City”, better known as Chicago, Illinois.

Coming from the third most populated city in the U.S. she moved to a much smaller town by the name of Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Throughout her childhood Jennifer participated in many different extra-curricular activities. She also traveled a lot since her mother was from Ecuador. They traveled every other year to Ecuador to visit family and went various places around the U.S. on family vacations every year.

“I really had a passion to learn more about my culture, which is Ecuadorian,” Jennifer said.

After graduating from Mountain Home High School in 2005, she pursued her BA at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She graduated with a degree in Communications and a minor in Latin American studies.

When looking for a graduate program, Jennifer was looking for something that specifically centered on International/Intercultural communication.

“I was very lucky to find this program at the University of Denver in Colorado. It was an exact mix of what I wanted to pursue and the exact type of environment,” Jennifer added.

In 2012 Jennifer Melissa Felps received her Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Public Relations.

While in Denver, Jennifer was part of a Distance Learning Program, a collaborative effort with the University of Denver, the Cable Center in Denver, C-Span studios in Washington DC, George Mason University, and Purdue University.

Jennifer was the graduate assistant for the University of Denver’s class, a distance learning class that focused on the mid-term elections and the makeup of the Congress at the time.

Students would get the opportunity to interact with the guests that Steve Scully had on his show in Washington DC. Scully is a senior executive producer and political editor of C-Span. Steve was the director of the class and Jennifer was his graduate assistant.

Scully would have many different guests on his show weekly, including speech writers for different presidents and also members of the media such as writers for Politico, and former CBS Evening News anchor , Dan Rather.

Jennifer was in charge of the class and her duties were to make sure that the communication was effective between the DC representatives and her students in the class. She did this for one full academic year.

“It was real cool,” Jennifer said astoundingly.

Before landing the position she holds today, Jennifer worked for the Cable Center in Denver, the Open Media Foundation, and Texarkana College.

She is currently employed at Texas A&M Texarkana with the job title of Global Recruitment Specialist.

Her position deals with marketing and recruitment for international studies.

Over time Jennifer has developed an intelligent global perspective and is an advocate of higher education. Her sincerity helps potential students feel connected to the university.

“I would say I am a pro when it comes to letting people know what to expect in college, how to get into college, how to do well in college, and how to look for the job after you graduate college.”

When asked what it takes to become a good global recruitment specialist this is what Jennifer had to say: “You must have the understanding and appreciation of the importance of intercultural/international relations, not only in a university setting but also in an everyday setting. You will also need excellent communication skills and a thorough knowledge of the university’s admission procedures.”

Jennifer thinks the key to recruiting students is trying to present a topic that the students can relate to their personal lives. She noted that communication is probably the number one aspect to becoming a recruitment specialist.

Jennifer is an extremely outgoing person and the type of person that everyone in the building would like to be around. “What I think makes me stand out from other recruitment specialist is my sincere an enthusiastic passion for higher education,” Jennifer said. “It is important that growing universities internationalize their student population in order to maintain a strong position in our globalized world and I aid in that effort.”

The Joy of Teaching

Percy K. Davis

“One of the most rewarding aspects for teaching at Texas A&M Texarkana was the quality of the students,” Associate Professor of English at Texarkana College Pamela Hesser said.

Pamela Hesser taught at A&M for one semester helping out with the journalism program. Her main focus was to help the students be better writers and help them get the online newspaper off the ground.

Before teaching at A&M, Hesser taught journalism at three other schools, Whitehouse High School, Hooks High School, and Texarkana College. She also was an assistant editor at the Texarkana Gazette where she wrote a bundle of feature stories.

When teaching at the high schools and Texarkana College she dealt with a majority of younger students who weren’t for sure what they wanted to do in life and were not as focused on journalism as she was.

“Here at Texarkana College I was teaching freshman and sophomores, some of whom are still exploring what kind of career direction they want to take.”

When you are a freshman you are just what the name says, “fresh”, so you don’t really know what you want to do in life just yet. You just graduated from high school and are making decisions without your parents telling you what decisions to make. You are out of your parents’ home and have free will to do pretty much whatever you want. So you can easily see how a freshman or even a sophomore’s focus could easily be distracted from the classroom.

“Whereas at A&M teaching juniors and seniors, they have already had time to make a pretty firm decision on what they wanted to do. So they are focused and they know what they want to learn and they take advantage of the learning opportunities,” Hesser concluded with a smile.

Writing Friday Night Lights

Anthony Hamilton

After spending a long day on one job, I have another job to go to, but this one, for me, is a whole lot of fun, at the Texarkana Gazette.

While most high school football fans are packed into the stadium, cheering on their favorite High School team I get the opportunity to report on these games after completion.

I’m an entry-level sportswriter at the Gazette. This past Friday was my second week on the job, and as expected, my learning curve, as well as what was expected of me, increased drastically.

I enjoyed every minute of it. There is a good bit of slow time early where we just follow the games on the internet and share a little bit of football talk. This time would be equivalent to the quiet before the storm, because when the games end, the phones begin to ring off the hook, and the game reports are coming really fast and furiously.

Two games I wrote about on Friday night really stood out for me. I actually wished I could have attended either one, because looking at the stat lines they both appeared to be extremely entertaining.

Hooks defeated DeKalb by virtue of a 4th quarter touchdown. DeKalb turned the ball over once, and I believe that did them in.

The other game was Nashville (Arkansas) at Watson Chapel in Pine Bluff. I’m sure both defensive coordinators were disgusted, as there was over a thousand yards of offense, and 117 total points scored in the game. I believe Watson Chapel’s coordinator should have been more upset, as they were torched by 1 player, I believe the quarterback who rushed for 362-yards, passed for 209 and had 7 touchdowns. The final score was 69-48.

I happened to receive this game right as deadline was approaching like a runaway freight train. I love the pressure though, and I got it done with a couple of minutes to spare. I got to see firsthand why deadlines are harped on in the classroom setting.

I’m happy to be able to work in my major, doing something I enjoy, and hope this is just the beginning of great things to come.