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UWF Student Authors

The Students of UWF are excellent writers. Here, you can find some of their published articles.

My Top 5 Personal Romance Tropes

Written By McKenzie Campbell
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, UWF Student Authors

Tropes. Every genre has got them. Every genre has a formula and specific plot points that it follows. But for some reason, the romance genre is extra made fun of for its use of tropes. Many call romance formulaic, but that’s not any more true than any other genre of fiction (or literary fiction, but that’s different rant for a different post). Tropes are what intrigue people to read or pick up a book. A horror reader would not pick up a book with vampires if they do not enjoy the vampire trope.

So, I wanted to share 5 of my favorite romance tropes. These will be more broad tropes, but I will probably make a list of my favorite overly specific tropes in the future. With that being said, here are my 5 personal favorite tropes.


Found Family

This trope is my absolute favorite trope and pairs so well with romance series! Since romance series commonly follows a different couple for each book, friend groups and found families can be found quite a bit within the genre.

I love books with a large cast of characters and seeing those characters pair off, fall in love, and grow into a found family is so, so satisfying. My favorite found families include the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and Lord of London Town by Tillie Cole.


Age Gap

Okay, so this may be my most controversial pick. I cannot explain why I love age-gap romances, but there is something about the taboo-ness of the trope that makes the romances feel more satisfying. I personally love it even more when the heroine is the older character, and the hero is the younger character (in a straight romance).

Of course, everyone needs to be of the age to consent and have consensual relationships. Age gaps are tricky to pull off to ensure the younger character isn’t too immature, the older character isn’t creepy, and the romance is believable.

Giana Darling is a rockstar at writing age-gap romances! One of her romances even has a 19-year age gap but is beloved within the romance community. I don’t think anyone has written age gap better than Giana Darling. Check out the Fallen Men series in particular. Once you meet Zeus Garro, you will thank me.



As with every trope on this list, I am obsessed with grump/sunshine romances. It’s the opposites attract with the sunshine character pulling the grump character out of their shell. Bonus points if the hero is the sunshine and the heroine is the grump or if at some point the two characters switch places because of trauma.

One, just in general, I need more grumpy heroines with sunshiney men. I need it in my life, please. But I can’t deny that I love me a good grumpy hero. Check out the Brown Sisters series by Talia Hibbert for this trope. Book 3 has an amazing grumpy hero. For a more serious pick, check out Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon. This book starts with a grumpy hero with a heroine who helps him heal, but eventually, he must return the favor and help her heal.


Virgin Hero/Scarred Hero

I totally cheated here, but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to keep this list to 5, and I couldn’t choose.

I really love the virgin hero trope because it breaks a lot of common tropes, or criticisms, of the romance genre. Oftentimes, we get an experienced hero with a virgin heroine, so when the roles are reversed, it is a nice change of pace. My main recommendation is the third book in the Hades Hangmen series by Tillie Cole. The hero in this book of the series is Flame and ugh, speaking of wonderful but scarred heroes. . . .

Flame! Emotionally scarred, physically scarred. You name it, Flame’s got it. But similarly to the satisfaction that comes from a taboo romance, reading a romance where the hero must heal and grow through love is really satisfying, if not a little cheesy. My favorite scarred hero comes from The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare. This historical romance is a Beauty and the Beast retelling but is hilarious, heartwarming, and has a scarred (but secretly soft) hero.


Female Friendships

Last and certainly not least, female friendships. Similar to found family, having a different couple in each book in romance series allows romance novels to build up female friendships and friend groups. The genre has gone through a major facelift with the way that female characters have treated each other, and I believe that female friendships have become an integral part of the character development of many heroines. Girl hate has de-escalated or at least evolved into something more nuanced, which allows friendships to shine through.

My easy favorite of this trope is Rock Chicks by Kristen Ashley. Another all-time favorite series! This series is hilarious and wacky and comes with a whole group of characters including a strip club owner, a drag queen, and an ex-con Vietnam War vet who babysits cats and ends up being a barista. And that is not even including the heroines. This series is completely over-the-top and silly but such a romp if you are having a bad day. Plus, the friendship between these women is literally ride or die. I’m serious. There are car chases.


Romances are so diverse that it is nearly impossible to pick only 5 tropes as my favorites, and the beauty of the genre is that if you don’t like these tropes, then you can choose from hundreds more.

Romance, like any genre, is a genre that you simply have to read to cultivate your taste. Eventually, you will find your perfect romances and your perfect romance tropes.

Engagement Ring Ideas For Your Personal Aesthetic

Written By McKenzie Campbell
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, UWF Student Authors

Everyone has their own personal aesthetic. Whether you enjoy the moody earth tones of Dark Academia or the floral lightness of Cottagecore, this article will help to give you ideas for an engagement ring that will reflect you!



Do all of your Instagram photos have a white background with a single plant or muted-color object as the subject? Are you drawn to gray and beige? Does Marie Kondo’s method of organization speak to your soul?

If so, then try a simple, minimalist engagement ring. Silvers, white golds, and platinum will compliment your personal color scheme. Try a smaller width band with diamonds set in around the band or a solitaire ring with a single gemstone.


Dark Academia

Dark Academia is one of the most popular current aesthetics. If this is your aesthetic, you enjoy classic literature, earth tones, and tweed. You enjoy a good mystery and would live in an old library of could.

Golds go best with the browns and earthy tones of your aesthetic. For the band, consider a shaped ring, such as the wishbone design; a wooden band to once again fit with the earth tones; or an engraved band because of your love for words and literature. If you want a completely out-of-the-box pick, look into coded acrostic rings, which use colored stones to create a hidden message.



If you prefer nature and simplicity; wearing long dresses and skirts in light pinks, greens, and yellows; or would love to move away from the hustle and bustle into a small cottage in a flower field, then Cottagecore is the aesthetic for you.

A softer, more simple design may draw your attention. Try rose golds, yellow golds, or even wooden bands, depending on how close to nature you want your ring to be. Similar to minimalist engagement rings, you may want to try a smaller band with diamonds or another gemstone in pastel color set in. Consider a shaped band such as an infinity band or a tension band. Search for rings or designs that represent nature or gemstones that are the colors of your favorite flowers.



Vintage can be referring to almost any decade before 2010, so depending on the specific decade you are drawn to, you could find different styles appealing.

Popular engagement styles that are often described as vintage include pavé and halo designs, both of which have become popular once again. Teardrop-shaped gemstones, specifically diamonds, are also appealing as is gold. Another design is the three-diamond design. This design can symbolically represent the past, present, and future, so it can entice your love of nostalgia while also represent the bright future that marriage can bring.


Your Zodiac Sign

If you want an even more personalized engagement ring, consider one designed for your zodiac sign. Have your birthstone instead of a diamond or fit in the colors that represent your sign.

Scorpios are passionate and intense, so rubies or black diamonds and gold may fit. Something bold. Libras are softer and romantic, so try rose gold and a unique, shaped band. Something elegant, yet charming. Consider the personality traits of your sign that represent you and incorporate those into the design as well.



Your engagement ring should represent you and your personal aesthetic. Find a ring that speaks to you!

5 Best Places To Find Live Music In Pensacola 

Written By McKenzie Campbell
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, Pensacola, UWF Student Authors

Looking for places to discover local musicians, broaden your musical taste, or even flex your own vocals? Then this article is for you. Here are five of the best places to find live music in Pensacola.


The Gordon Community Art Center

The Gordon Community Art Center is your one-stop shop for all things artistic in Pensacola. According to their website, the Gordon is “a place to come together with imagination, intelligence, and compassion.”

While the Gordon has a variety of events in all aspects of art and community involvement, the center has many events for you to listen to live music. These events include a monthly Open Mic Night that will allow you to listen to local musicians or show off your own music skills and an array of concerts. The next concert is the Lubben Brothers, a folk/bluegrass band, on July 16, 2021.

Check out The Gordon Community Art Center for a full calendar of upcoming events at https://thegordon.org/.



What began as a small bar in the 60s has now become an iconic location for live music in and around Pensacola. Flora-Bama prides itself on its year-long live music across five different stages.

With a wide variety of genres and artists, Flora-Bama is a great destination if you are in the mood for mainstream artists or want to discover local musicians. Almost every night, you will be able to find live music on one of the various stages. Flora-Bama also has a lengthy list of annual events, including Frank Brown’s Songwriter’s Festival, which takes place at the beginning of November 2021.

For a full list of events, go to Flora-Bama’s website at https://www.florabama.com/.


Seville Quarter

Seville Quarter has been “the Gulf Coast’s Entertainment Destination since 1967,” according to their website. Seville Quarter is made up of seven rooms that each have its own theme and events.                 

The Seville Courtyard stage features an array of musicians and bands. Lili Marlene’s has karaoke nights that allow you to contribute to the musical atmosphere. Phineas Phogg’s Balloon Works is a dance club with a live DJ and plenty of high-energy dance music. If jazz is more your speed, then Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium is the room for you. 

Whatever live music experience you prefer, you will find a place at Seville Quarter. Check it out at https://www.sevillequarter.com/


Pensacola Opera

Pensacola Opera is the perfect place to experience professional opera performances in Pensacola. Their mission is to enrich the culture of Pensacola for everyone.

This opera house strives to be inclusive for all people of all different backgrounds. Their next event is Singing with PRIDE, which will celebrate Pride Month with a selection of songs by LGBT composers. Other upcoming performances include The Magic Flute and The Barber of Seville.

Check out Pensacola Opera at https://pensacolaopera.com/.


Pensacola Symphony Orchestra

Our final live music destination is the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, which is entering its 94th season. Similar to Pensacola Opera, PSO seeks to enrich and educate the Pensacola community through music.

 PSO has a variety of upcoming concerts, including Dvorak, Symphony No. 8 on June 26, 2021, and Opening Night in October. If you are a fan of classical music or enjoy live instrumental music, consider one of PSO’s concerts.

For ticket prices and a full concert schedule, go to https://www.pensacolasymphony.com/default.asp.


Whatever type of live music you are looking for, Pensacola has a place for you. Support these local businesses and musicians while also experiencing some of the best live entertainment! 

10 Things Every Tourist Should Do In Pensacola

Written By McKenzie Campbell
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, Pensacola, UWF Student Authors

I first moved to Pensacola for college and have since fallen in love with this town. The best way I can describe Pensacola is up-and-coming. With an amazing downtown, various local businesses, and a rich history, Pensacola is becoming a must-see for tourists interested in all things Florida.

Below is a list of 10 essential experiences all tourists must have while in Pensacola. Some will be specific while others are just general things every tourist should do.

Here are 10 essential things every Pensacola tourist must do!


Pensacola Beach

Okay, I’ll admit this suggestion may be obvious. You’re in Florida and near the coast, so, of course, you’re going to the beach. As a Floridian, I often forget how cool the beach can be for people who have never seen it.

So if you have never been to the beach before or you have and just love it, spend a day or few hours at Pensacola Beach. Soak up some sun, play in the water, people watch. A visit to Florida is not complete without the beach!


Palafox Market

A more specific recommendation is Palafox Market. This farmer’s market has it all. Art, food, music, antiques. If you want to support local businesses, then a farmer’s market is always the perfect experience for you.

Palafox Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm on N Palafox St. in Martin Luthor King Jr. Plaza. Once you finish at the market and if you somehow still have money burning a hole in your pocket, check out the local shops and restaurants along Palafox St. Everything about this downtown area is tourist-friendly and will give an insight into the people that make Pensacola so great!


Ghost Tour

Another must for any tourist is a ghost or other type of paranormal tour. If you enjoy true crime, history, or just a little weirdness, ghost tours are perfect for you. Pensacola has a whole variety of paranormal tours you can take including cemetery/graveyard tours, ghost tours, and haunted house tours. Check out Go Retro and Pensacola Ghost Tours to book one of these tours.

If you are feeling adventurous and want a more hands-on experience, you can participate in a ghost hunt of the Pensacola Lighthouse. But if you go on this tour, be warned. The Pensacola Lighthouse is incredibly haunted and you never know what you’ll find. Or what will find you…


Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

I know, I know. These tours are very cheesy and the first thing every hotel concierge recommends, but that is for a good reason. A hop-on hop-off tour is most likely not going to give an in-depth, “real” look into Pensacola, but these tours are a great way to get an overview of Pensacola. (Plus, they are a great way to get around a city and rest your feet!).

I believe that a hop-on hop-off tour is the perfect first thing to do for every tourist. Check out Go Retro for more information on this type of tour.


National Naval Aviation Museum

Every tourist attraction list probably has at least a couple of museums on the list. Museums give information that is important to the area that you visiting and often have unique exhibits and attractions.

The National Naval Aviation Museum is no different. This museum offers flight simulators, an Apollo 11 VR, and a Virtual Flight Deck. Not only will you be learning all about the history of aviation but also have a hands-on experience that is educational, fun, and family-friendly.


Historic Pensacola

If you a history nerd like myself, then I highly suggest checking out the various museums and tours in Historic Pensacola. This 8 ½ acre area transports you back to various time periods with the architecture and history interpreters. I will admit that I am cheating a little bit by putting all of Historic Pensacola as one item because so much is included in this one location, such as the Pensacola Museum of History and Arcadia Mill.

You could honestly spend a few days exploring all that Historic Pensacola has to offer, but for more information and to figure out which museums and exhibits interest you, check out the Historic Pensacola website at https://www.historicpensacola.org/.


Used/Independent Bookstores

A used or indie bookstore is a must on any list for first-time tourists. Not only can you support a local business (and used/indie bookstores need all the support they can get) but you can also often find books by local authors or about local history.

One independent bookstore I recommend is Open Books. Open Books is a nonprofit bookstore that donates books to prisoners through their Prison Book Project. Shopping at this store will allow you to get some books, support a local business, and do some good. What else could you want?


Local Coffee Shops

Similar to item number 7, this recommendation is a broad one (and maybe a personal one). Coffee shops offer air conditioning, coffee, and often sweet treats. If you have had a long day of exploring and need a pick-me-up or you’re tired of free hotel breakfast, a local coffee shop is a perfect item for your itinerary.

One recommendation is The Drowsy Poet, which has two locations in Pensacola and has a fun aesthetic filled with natural wood, concrete, and books. If you want to visit a coffee shop with great ambiance and live out your dark academia dream, try out The Drowsy Poet.


Pensacola Museum of Art

When putting together a list of essentials for every tourist, you have to keep in mind what makes a city unique but also what shows off the distinct voice or vibe of a city. So far, I have recommended some essentials that can be applied to every city, and an art museum is one of those.

One thing that makes the Pensacola Museum of Art a must-see is that you will get to experience the art of local artists and enjoy the unique voice of Pensacola. With changing exhibits and events, your experience will be completely your own.


Seville Quarter

If you are looking for live music, check out Seville Quarter. Seville Quarter is made up of seven rooms that each have its own theme and events. Do you want karaoke, a dance club, or smooth jazz? This unique destination has everything you could possibly need for a fun nightlife experience.

But if a bar or live music is not quite your speed, check out the Palace Cafe, which is a New Orleans-inspired restaurant that is also a part of Seville Quarter.


Pensacola is a culturally diverse city with lots of local art, local shops, and rich history. This is not a definitive list of the tourist attractions or experiences that Pensacola has to offer, but this list is full of essentials and a great starting point for anyone looking to visit Pensacola.

Repurposing Jewelry

Written By Garrett Gerona
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, UWF Student Authors

Heirlooms, especially jewelry, connect us with our families. Little mementos remind us of our loved ones and our brightest moments. But what happens when your heirloom jewelry doesn’t suit your day-to-day needs? How can you incorporate your heirloom into your outfits when the styles just don’t match?

Cummings Jewelry Design answers these questions with a premium service: repurposing jewelry.

The answer isn’t keeping your heirlooms tucked away and dusty, and it certainly isn’t selling your cherished mementos. Cummings Jewelry Design specializes in transforming and remodeling heirlooms into custom-made masterpieces.


How Does Repurposing Jewelry Work?

The process begins with you and your jewelry. Maybe you’ve inherited a brooch, an heirloom close to your heart, but you’re someone who has never worn brooches. Maybe you prefer necklaces. If your brooch were a necklace, you would probably wear it more.

This is where Cummings Jewelry Design comes in. Repurposing jewelry is the best way to keep your heirlooms in your family and in your wardrobe. Cummings Jewelry Design creates custom jewelry exactly to your specifications either from scratch or using your old jewelry. This service can even transform your brooch into a necklace.

But heirlooms are special, aren’t they? They’re one-of-a-kind memories. How can you trust Cummings Jewelry Design?

Well, to begin, you and a custom jewelry design specialist will meet and discuss exactly what you’re looking for. This will be a good opportunity to learn about Cummings Jewelry Design and realize their designers know their craft. Your designer will listen to your hopes with the project, and then they will offer their own creative suggestions. Creating custom jewelry is a team effort, and you’ll be directly involved from the beginning. You’ll personally see whom you’ll entrust your jewelry with.

If you’re still worried—which is understandable—you’re absolutely welcome to drop by and see Cummings Jewelry Design’s custom jobs!


What Happens Afterward?

Even after your custom jewelry repurposing is finished, the support doesn’t stop. Cummings Jewelry Design will repair your redesigned heirloom should it be damaged. They will even refit your heirloom—maybe you’ve redesigned a wedding ring you inherited, and now you’re ready to pass that ring down the same way. Cummings Jewelry Design will refit your custom jewelry to any specifications you need.

Cummings Jewelry Design has stood for forty years with excellent customer service, and you’re as special to the company as your heirloom is to you.

Visit Cummings Jewelry Design’s website and begin your custom jewelry project or heirloom repurposing today! 

Judging Functions: Part One

Written By Garrett Gerona
Posted on
Categories: Blogs, UWF Student Authors

You’ve become interested in MBTI, and the Myers-Briggs, and now you’re learning about each cognitive function. You figured out what the original eight letters mean, but how does all this Ti, Fi, Si, etc. stuff work?

Cognitive functions are broken into two groups of eight: four judging functions and four perceiving functions. Each type has two judging functions and two perceiving functions. In this article, we’ll cover the two extraverted judging functions: extraverted feeling (Fe) and extraverted thinking (Te).


What Is Fe?

Fe, extraverted feeling, is the function responsible for group harmony. Types which use Fe are particularly attuned to others’ emotions: Fe-users instantly detect and adapt to others’ feelings, especially intense feelings. Fe goes beyond simply “detecting” others’ feelings, however—people’s emotions wield great power over Fe-users. FJs and TPs (eight types who use Fe) often find themselves at the mercy of others’ bad moods and cannot feel happy while others are unhappy.

Fe-users repress their own emotions and values to reflect those of others. Fe-users draw most of their emotional states from those around them, and this reflection allows them to “know what to say” to keep everyone happy. TPs are weaker with Fe, so their social/emotional missteps are more common, and their feelings are easier to damage in the face of these mistakes. FJs are stronger with Fe, so they’re abler to improve others’ moods while maintaining their own emotional integrity.


What Is Te?

Te, extraverted thinking, is the function responsible for organization and logistics. Types that use Te feel the drive to work and know how to accomplish their goals. Te-users tend to admire discipline and dauntless perseverance, and they often strive to develop these traits themselves. Te-users see their resources and goals as pieces of a bigger puzzle, and they work to produce quick, efficient, material results.


Te-users, TJs, and FPs, favor action over contemplation or debate. When deadlines need to be met, Te-users prefer acting quickly with an okay plan over acting slowly with a perfect plan. FPs are weaker with Te, so they’re more prone to procrastination, but they usually keep themselves busy with hands-on, involved activities. TJs are stronger with Te, so they’re more decisive with their actions and thorough in their planning, and many feel guilty or restless during leisure. 

Let’s Go On A Trip (Your 3-Day Weekend Planner)

Written By Garrett Gerona
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, Pensacola, UWF Student Authors

You’ve decided going on a trip is just what you need to unwind and reset a little. Pensacola vacations are perfect for exactly that: rest and relaxation. Our city is home to countless historical sites and fun locales ideal for your 3-day weekend trip.

Everyone is unique, and everyone’s vacation checklist is unique, too. This article will help you plan your trip to Pensacola whether you’re traveling alone, vacationing with your significant other, or bringing your whole family along for the fun.


Pensacola Vacations for Singles

  • Friday – Fishing can be fun and relaxing. You’re alone with your memories and reflections, and you’re able to unwind and think about life. Fishing at the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier might be the best way to unwind after starting your vacation. Admission costs only $7.50 per person, and fishing rods are available for rent, so you can experience the wonderful solitude of fishing without worrying about your own equipment.
  • Saturday – The Pensacola Historic District, otherwise known as the Seville Historic District, offers midday tours on Saturdays. Joining one of these tours provides you great insight into Pensacola’s history and development across multiple generations, and you’ll finish early enough to visit one of Downtown Pensacola’s many restaurants!
  • Sunday – Palafox Street houses many cafes and boutiques any vacationer would enjoy. Palafox Street is one of the most walkable Pensacola locations, so spending your final vacation day shopping, grazing, and people watching along this street might be the coziest way a solo traveler could unwind.


Pensacola Vacations for Couples

  • Friday – What better way to share culture with your significant other than attending a play? The Pensacola Little Theater schedules performances ranging from Broadway plays to Shakespeare. Enjoying art and the finer things in life is the ideal way to being your vacation with your loved one.
  • Saturday – Your next stop will be the Pensacola Museum of Art. Open from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays, this museum provides you and your loved one the perfect place to lose yourselves in a romantic afternoon.
  • Sunday – Brunch has cemented itself as a seaside staple, and Pensacola restaurants famous for their brunches are many. We recommend beginning your Sunday with your significant other with brunch at the Atlas Oyster House. After enjoying a wonderful meal, you and your significant other can head right over to the beach and close out your vacation with romantic beachside leisure.


Pensacola Vacations for Families

  • Friday – Few better family activities exist than going out to a ball game. Pensacola’s very own Minor League Baseball team, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, play home games certain weeks of the month and schedule some games on Fridays. Beginning your vacation watching live baseball and enjoying the crowd will give your whole family new memories to cherish.
  • Saturday – Pensacola is the proud home of the National Naval Aviation Museum. Open on Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM, this expansive museum includes historical exhibits fun for adults and children both. If you schedule a tour, you and your family will be treated to the history—complete with war stories—behind many of our nation’s planes. Hearing about planes is one thing, but seeing them up close is another!
  • Sunday – Concluding your family vacation with fun in the sun is the best way to go, and Pensacola Quietwater Beach is perfect for families with small children. At Quietwater, you and your children can enjoy the ocean without worrying about waves or rip currents. There are even lifeguards. Nothing’s better than good, safe family fun.


We hope these ideas and recommendations help you plan your Pensacola vacation. Whatever you’re looking for in a vacation, Pensacola has you covered!

Soweto Academy

Written By Garrett Gerona
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, Community, UWF Student Authors

Where would you be without an education? Could you imagine your life without schooling? Without the opportunities your education provides? The struggles you’d face? The limitations?

Soweto Academy asks this question because education is vital to success and fulfillment, and some children find themselves unable to receive theirs. Circumstances limit funds. Limited funds mean limited services. Limited services mean children with zero control over their birthplace never have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Soweto Academy, an education nonprofit based in Nairobi, works to bring education and opportunities to children who would otherwise be forced to live without them.

Many Kenyan children grow up in slums without access to basic utilities, much less education. Soweto Academy has worked for thirty years to mend these issues. Chris Okumu, the director of Soweto Academy, established this nonprofit to bring children opportunities as well as help them become independent and self-sustaining members of society.

Soweto Academy teaches children about mathematics, science, and reading, but it also teaches valuable real-life skills its graduates can use to support themselves—and their communities—in the future. These skills include gardening and animal husbandry. Soweto Academy’s students learn to feed and sustain themselves while working to support others.

Soweto Academy’s support for these children goes beyond education, too. Students are fed. They’re clothed. They’re protected and nurtured. Kenya’s slums contain struggles that the rest of the world may never learn of or experience for themselves. Sewage and trash present health risks. Dense populations mean food can be scarce—before Soweto Academy, many children were forced to pick through trash just to scrape together enough nutrition to survive. Many children still do. Soweto Academy works to shield children from these harsh circumstances while teaching them how to overcome them.

Soweto Academy works to sustain itself by following the same values and skills it teaches its students. Operating an independent water-bottling facility, Soweto Academy uses its own well to supply water and its employees bottle and label that water for sale. Funds secured from this practice go toward feeding and clothing the children it protects as well as supporting the teachers who dedicate their lives to educating students.

Soweto Academy’s farms function similarly. These farms grow a variety of crops, and agricultural instructors teach students how to plant and sustain these crops to maturity. Students learn to farm, and Soweto Academy uses proceeds gained from these farms to support its students further beyond.

COVID-19 presented an intense and unique struggle for Soweto Academy and everyone living in Nairobi. Because Kenya’s slums are so densely packed, the coronavirus could spread like wildfire through the population. Limited utilities and funds meant healthcare and health-safety materials available to the rest of the world weren’t available to Kenyans.

Soweto Academy stood in the face of COVID-19 and protected its community with all its might. Their water-bottling facility provided clean and fresh water to countless lives. When trade shut down, Soweto Academy was there to feed everyone it could with its crops. Soweto Academy’s employees and students became some of Nairobi’s greatest shields and most stalwart frontline workers.

Without Soweto Academy’s help, there’s no telling how many in Nairobi may have suffered more than they already did. When the world shut down, Soweto Academy stood up. This defense of Nairobi would seem obvious to anyone familiar with the nonprofit’s practices and mission statement, but it demonstrates the resolve of Soweto Academy to support its community and raise everyone up together.

Soweto Academy has garnered attention from philanthropists the world over thanks to its mission and dedication to helping its students escape the limitations of their circumstances.

Partnering with BLU University and renowned speaker and philanthropist Dan Vega, Soweto Academy now spreads the message of unity and education online and across the world. Soweto Academy’s students and others now have the opportunity to access higher education courses, and these students and supporters are taking learning to the next level. They’re learning about economics, politics, business, international negotiations, and more! These courses teach students skills that allow them to succeed as well as bring their communities success on the world stage.

The director of Soweto Academy, Chris Okumu, intends to lead his students into even greater success in the future. He works tirelessly to support anyone and everyone in need of aid, and he has the progressive and pragmatic mindset required to accomplish these goals.

Soweto Academy alone can reach only so far, however. The nonprofit’s resources have been stretched thin. COVID-19 traumatized the world, and it stretched Soweto Academy’s resources particularly thin.

Soweto Academy Needs Your Help

Nothing is free, unfortunately, and Soweto Academy finds itself struggling to keep its doors open, to keep the children fed and clothed, to keep its teachers paid, and even to keep its back taxes settled.

Projects as ambitious as Soweto Academy incur deep expenses in the Kenyan economy. Thankfully, there is an answer—international support. Donations from everyday patrons like you can keep children fed and educated.

Fifteen thousand dollars is steep, but imagine how steep that cost is in the Kenyan economy. If fifteen hundred individuals donated just ten dollars, Soweto Academy could feed, clothe, and educate the children it protects for over a month. A little goes a long way, and many hands make light work.

Soweto Academy values independence and self-sufficiency—this nonprofit has sustained itself for over thirty years through dedication and hard work alone. COVID-19 put an unexpected and heavy strain on Soweto Academy, but it refuses to give up. Supporting Soweto Academy supports Kenya’s children, and these children will grow to support their communities, their country, and even the world.

Soweto Academy has helped children in need for years. Now, those children need you. Your support could mean the difference between generations of struggle and stagnation or education and accomplishment.

Where would you be without an education? Without clothes? Without food? Without hope?

Make a difference today. Visit Soweto Academy’s website and donate. Save a life. Support a community. Become the pillar Kenya’s children need. 

Judging Functions: Part Two

Written By Garrett Gerona
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, UWF Student Authors

You’ve been studying Jung’s cognitive functions, and you’re getting a better handle on MBTI. You’ve learned about extraverted judging functions, but you’re an INTP, ISTP, INFP, or INFP—your dominant function is Ti or Fi. What are those? How do they work? If they’re introverted, operating internally, are they still judging functions?


Fi And Ti Are Introverted Judging Functions

Where extraverted judging functions focus on external emotions or results, introverted judging functions focus on each individual’s logical or emotional/moral processes. Fi, introverted feeling, governs one’s  emotions independent of others’. Ti, introverted thinking, governs one’s analytical structures independent of what seems apparent.


How Does Fi Work?

Introverted feeling is often mistaken for “overly emotional” in the same way extraverted feeling, Fe, is often mistaken for “nice.” Introverted feeling is responsible for one’s personal evaluations of morals.

Fi-users spend much time reflecting on what’s right or wrong, and their morals stand apart from—and sometimes above—society’s. Fi-users see the way the world should be according to their own moral compass, and they use Te, extraverted thinking, to bring that world about.

Fe might be called sympathy, but Fi is empathy. Rather than noticing and adapting to another’s external emotional state, Fi-users relate with others by putting themselves in another’s shoes. Fi-users can accidentally come off as cold when the Fi-user doesn’t agree with one’s emotional state, but the degree of warmth they can share when they do is unparalleled.

Fi-users won’t readily repress their emotions to align with someone else’s mood.


How Does Ti Work?

Introverted thinking is responsible for creating webs of if/then statements linking everything together the way the Ti-user sees the world. Unlike Te, Ti is more interested in learning why things work rather than how to make those things work for you; unlike Fi, Ti evaluates concepts according to if-this-then-that thinking rather than moral evaluation.

Ti bases its ideas in what theoretically should be, not what evidence suggests is. Albert Einstein, INTP and dominant Ti-user, developed his theory of relativity according to ideas which hadn’t been proven with evidence but were probably true according to his own personal, internal calculations and suspicions. Ti-users are more likely to disagree with what seems obvious when they sense more is at play.

Because their calculations are based on their own hunches and anecdotal evidence, Ti-users often struggle explaining their conclusions in ways others can understand and follow. 

How To Shop For Diamonds

Written By Irene Regaspi
Posted on
Categories: Blog Posts, UWF Student Authors

Perhaps it’s the first time you’re seriously looking at diamonds. You’re shopping for an engagement ring or wanting to redesign a treasured piece of jewelry handed down from you grandmother. Something’s coming and you just want to be prepared.

You’ve asked yourself, “What do I look for? Where do the best diamonds come from? How do I know I’m getting a quality diamond?” Cummings Jewelry Designs will answer those questions, so you’ll feel confident in what you’re looking for. Let’s first start with the basics.


The Basics

We know that choosing a diamond is forever. The four characteristics, aka the 4C’s, are the starting point: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Carat is the weight: the larger the diamond, the more expensive. Diamonds can appear larger based on the shape or cut.  Buyers can choose a traditional round shape or choose fancy cuts like princess or pear.  The cut will be the most important decision in choosing a diamond and refers to the style of actual cuts of the individual facets. How do the cuts make the diamond sparkle? Will it bounce the light coming in creating brilliance? Color is graded on a scale from D to Z, with D being the whitest and most valuable. Clarity refers to the absence of blemishes and inclusions. These flaws are expected – after all, a diamond’s natural setting is embedded, deep in the earth. Like color, clarity is also graded from flawless (no blemishes or inclusions) to included (inclusions may affect transparency and brilliance).


Where Do I Start?

Cut. Color. Clarity. Carat. In that order.


What Am I Looking For?

Choose the right cut for shimmering, dazzling diamonds. This is the reason you’re buying a diamond, right? As light enters the diamond, the light reflects and refracts from the cuts within. A perfectly cut diamond – not too shallow and not too deep – will refract light from every angle making the entire stone truly shine. Perfectly cut means that each individual aspect of the diamond is symmetrically even. GIA cut scale ratings are excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor.

Checking for color. Jewelers will place diamonds on a tray to compare color differences. We mentioned that D is the whitest – colorless – rarest, and therefore, most valuable; Z is a lower quality diamond with yellow tones; some jewelers find lower quality grades unacceptable to sell. Color is a preference; generally, diamonds that are graded near colorless (G-J) and those with faint colors (K) are popular.

Clarity. Remember, flaws are natural and while they are too tiny to be noticeable, will impact brilliance. Engagement rings are expected to be flawless and colorless, so think of their clarity as the highest standard. Lower clarity grades may cause the diamond to appear cloudy. (You may need to look at the diamond from 6-8 inches away.) Clarity is the category you might want to bargain a little. Would you opt for lower clarity for a larger carat?


Putting It All Together

Still not sure what all this means? Here’s the fun part. Do a little research by shopping. Walk into a jewelry store. See what catches your eye and note what you think the cut, color, and clarity grades are.  Are you thinking it’s an Excellent/Ideal Cut, F color, and VVS2 Clarity because it’s sparkling brilliantly? You might be surprised. Ask the sales attendant for the specifications and see how you did. Then, start comparing other diamonds at various price points.


Where Do The Best Diamonds Come From?

Honestly, “best” is a subjective term. Diamonds are mined from African countries, Canada, Russian, and Australia. While Africa is the major producer of diamonds, high-grade diamonds are also found in Canada and Russia; yet, if you’re looking for a pink diamond, you’ll find those in Australia. Today, diamonds are produced in a lab with the same characteristics as those mined. 

How do you know you’re getting a quality diamond? If the diamond is dazzlingly bright, the color is not noticeable, the diamond doesn’t look cloudy, plus the carat’s weight is correct and the diamond matches the GIA grading you expected, you are getting a high-quality diamond.