Students who do cool things: Essie Quakyi ’14

While I was sophomore slumping and pretending to be productive over winter break, Essie Quakyi ’14 was launching not one, but two projects: Imagine Ghana and According to Plan. Imagine Ghana is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide underprivileged youths in Ghana with the necessary skills, resources, and opportunities to make an informed career decision for themselves. Essie hopes to cause a paradigm shift in the way young people in Ghana approach their career journeys. Unrelated, but equally cool, According to Plan is an event decor and design company also based on her home turf. BlogDailyHerald sat down with Essie to get the details on both projects.

BlogDH: When did you launch Imagine Ghana?

Essie: The Imagine Ghana initiative was unofficially launched in December 2013 in Ghana, though we’re looking to a do a bigger and more formal one in the next few months. This launch will bring together volunteers, educators, program participants, financiers and speakers.

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BlogDH: What were your motivations for starting the nonprofit?

Essie: My high school experience and my time at Brown forced me to become a more critical thinker and to identify potential for change around me, and so I constantly sought ways to improve the state of my home country, Ghana. After interning for some time in some government institutions in Ghana I quickly learned that “quick-fixes” for problems have truly held the country back, and that the most effective solutions are those that tackle problems at their root. In thinking about youth unemployment and the general approach to career decision in Ghana, I developed Imagine Ghana, which seeks to expose the youth in Ghana to a better way of thinking, and to challenge them to explore the ‘whys’ of their career choices.

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Halloween 2013 (2)

BlogDailyHerald’s Third Annual Costume Contest: Results

Thanks to all who submitted photos of their costumes to our third annual costume contest. We received an overwhelming number of submissions this year, and we were glad that we had the chance to bear witness to your creativity and execution, even though we probably saw you on the street/at a party/at Jo’s at some point this weekend but just don’t remember. In true Twelve Angry Men fashion, the editors of BlogDH engaged in a heated debate over your submissions before reaching a final consensus. Without further ado, the MVP of Halloween.

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Name: Emily W. ’14.5
Descriptions from left to right, top to bottom: 
Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus; Squealer the pig, one of the original nine Beanie Babies; Angelica Pickles (and her doll Cynthia) from The Rugrats; Regina George and the Plastics (left to right: Julia S., ’14, Emily W. ’14.5, Vivianne A., ’14); Wanda and Cosmo (Conor M., Skidmore ’14) from The Fairly Odd Parents.

Congratulations, Emily! As promised, her photos will be featured in every post that we put up today. Check out the runners-up after the jump.

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Students who do cool things: Danny Sobor ’15, artist and creator of Milk Supply Co.

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Danny Sobor ’15 has pioneered several art ventures on campus. But for his 21st birthday he decided to go above and beyond anything he’s done in the past by founding a new company, Milk Supply Co. We picked his brain on this unique new clothing line, whose first collection just dropped this Thursday.

BlogDailyHerald: What exactly is Milk Supply Co.?

Danny Sobor ’15: Milk Supply Co. is a psychedelic street wear and design company, Providence-based but Chicago-inspired. It’s really based on the people and experiences I grew up with for the first 18 years of my life. I also came back home for the first time in two years this summer and being back home really made me reevaluate things and this was me looking back on where I grew up and trying to visually represent it. Another inspiration was a good friend of mine, Miles, who died after a five-year bout with brain cancer last January. His passing inspired me to do something with my time.

BlogDH: You said that it was a “psychedelic company,” could you elaborate more on that?

Danny: [Laughs] Sorry mom. The PC version is that it is inspired by conscious alteration. Being the same person, but you know seeing the world a little differently. We used to trip and just experience the city [Chicago] and walk around the city and I think that has heavily influenced the way I draw. The patterns I draw I feel like I’ve seen tripping, and then see them continually coming around in the world. In Native American art, in Japanese art, and other forms.

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Everyone loves a good Mean Girls reference, duh.

Students who do cool things: Leonard Cooper ’17, Teen Jeopardy champion

Brown students are intelligent. Jeopardy contestants are often super-intelligent. Some really awesome people have Facebook pages dedicated to them. Leonard Cooper ’17 is bright enough, bold enough, and has an afro large enough to fit into all of these categories, making him one of the sharpest tools Brown has in its shed. Leo is the epitome of “one who does cool things”—he won Teen Jeopardy last year. And he didn’t only win, but he won $75,000—way above the average yearly income for a post-grad with a liberal arts degree. Way to go, Leo! We sat down with Leo to chat about his wild ride from a small town in Arkansas to a big studio in LA where all of his wildest dreams came true.

BlogDailyHerald: Why did you go on the show?
Leonard Cooper ’17: I was watching the show in February last year and they put on a commercial for auditions and I decided I wanted to be on the show. I’d been watching the show for a while and saw the commercial.

BlogDH: Did you study for the show?
Leo: [Really casually… like too casually.] No.

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Students who do cool things: Noah Fradin ’15 and Punch

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While there are definitely benefits to staying connected with people on social media, our networks are often cluttered with people whom we may be connected to, but with whom we don’t have genuine social relationships. It’s hard to sift through the clutter and find out what are closest friends are up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and mass texting can be a real pain. Noah Fradin ’15 and Isaac Blankensmith RISD ’13 saw the need to stay connected with large groups of people in real time, and started working to address that need. Together, they created Punch, a brand new app that allows you to connect and meet up with groups of friends instantaneously. The app has absolutely blown up and earned a huge following on campus since its launch, and can change the way you go about communicating with friends. BlogDH sat down with one of Punch’s co-creators, Noah Fradin ’15, to learn more about how Punch is revolutionizing the app world. Check out the interview after the jump. Continue Reading


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Students who do cool things: Clara Beyer ’14 (a.k.a @FeministTSwift)

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“I’m sick and tired of… what?”

Clara Beyer ’14 is in her uncle’s New York apartment, thinking about Taylor Swift’s “Tell Me Why.” She’s lying on the couch, brainstorming her next tweet. There’s no process to it: sometimes, the idea comes first and then the lyrics, and sometimes, she starts with the song. “I’ve got no one to believe in … role models!” She finishes her message, rereads it, and hits “Post” to publish it for her over 100,000 followers.

Welcome to the life of the author of FeministTaylorSwift, the latest Twitter sensation. If the name Clara seems familiar, that’s because it’s not the first time the rising senior has gone viral. She’s part of the team behind Cosmarxpolitan, Tumblr’s go-to source for 50 steamy ways to throw a revolution. (Seriously, though, you should check it out). Fellow Cosmarxist Kevin Carty ‘15 encouraged Clara to pursue her single-purpose Twitter idea, and helped her compose the first couple of 140-character bites of heartbreak, young love, and gender role deconstruction.

Since starting the parody account on June 13, FeministTaylorSwift has blown up on the Internet and has been featured on BuzzFeed, Washington Post, HuffPo, and TMZ (not to name names or anything). BlogDH had the chance to sit down with Clara over Blue State iced coffee to talk about her process, Taylor Swift’s brand of feminism, and how it feels to go viral overnight.

BlogDailyHerald: So this idea came to you like a random burst of inspiration, or had you been thinking about something like this?
Clara Beyer: I was walking home from work, and I was listening to Taylor Swift. I have this idea, “idea for single-purpose Twitter: Feminist Taylor Swift.” And I tweeted it, and I thought that was it, I’ll never think about it again. And then I get home, and I get a phone call from my friend Kevin Carty ’15, and he’s like, “Clara, you need to do this.” And so he and I talked about it for 10 minutes, and brainstormed, and it happened.

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