All posts by Mary Burkett

Denver’s Transformation Into A Multi-Modal City: Improving Urban Transit

This report outlines Denver’s transformation into a multi-modal city. The city has invested in an extensive light rail system and bus system, while also improving the regions’ bicycling infrastructure. These actions have been taken in response to growing problems with automobile congestion and national trends towards smart growth and sustainable development, as well as trying to attract millennials to move to the city. Here is a list of some of Denver’s notable rankings that reflect its efforts to appeal to the millennial generation: Continue reading Denver’s Transformation Into A Multi-Modal City: Improving Urban Transit


Impacting the Way We Design Buildings

Making an actual impact on society is a tough goal to achieve; however, this has actually been a long time goal of mine. My parents are architects so I have always loved buildings, and when I was ten years old, I decided I wanted to be a real estate developer (the ones who hire the architects and set out to build buildings). Since then, I have improved upon this goal, most especially when I came back from studying abroad in Copenhagen. While abroad I took a class called “Sustainable by Design,” which focused on sustainable techniques to designing buildings, and this idea is what has become my passion. Now I want to start my own real estate development firm focused on building sustainable apartment buildings with the techniques I learned in Denmark.

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Experiencing Maidan

This February I went on a spur of the moment trip to the campus theater to see “Maidan” with my roommate who was required to go see the film for her Russian class. Getting there, I had very little idea what the movie was about, except that it depicted the Maidan massacre that happened in Ukraine last winter (2013/14). As we ate some Russian h’orderves that were provided with the film screening, two professors from Penn State gave a thirty-minute introduction to the film, because it had no dialog or narrative to explain the events that were shown. At this point, I was unsure what to expect from a movie that required an introduction, would have no narrative, and was filmed throughout the revolution in the Kiev’s Independence Square over the course of several months. However, when I left, I was speechless and proceeded to tell everyone I knew that they had to see it.

Sergei Loznitsa, the director, captured the events through a series of locked shots, with the camera only moving to different locations a few times. At times the camera was positioned indoors where people were making sandwiches for the protestors, sometimes the camera was positioned in the middle of the square or on the main stage, and once the riots and shootings began, the cameramen had to move to a rooftop to protect themselves from teargas, but the camera would remain in each location for fifteen to twenty minutes before showing a different view of Maidan.

The beginning of the documentary showed the beginnings of the revolution with peaceful protests. The Maidan square was filled with around half a million Ukrainians singing national anthems, waiving flags, and cooking food in large boiling pots in the middle of the streets to feed all of the travelers who came to Maidan to participate in the protests. These peaceful protests lasted for a few months, but slowly through the course of the film, the revolution started brewing, culminating in an invasion of armed police. The film showed the protestors setting fires around the square and digging up their own streets to throw bricks and rocks at the police, and it showed the police retaliating with guns as people ran in every direction trying to reorganize themselves. All, or most, of the Ukrainian participants were ordinary citizens standing up for their country against their president Viktor Yanukovych. Since there is no narrative and only subtitles of what is being said in the actual events, mostly from a younger man yelling into a megaphone, the bottom of the screen translated urgent calls for medics to help shot victims and that reinforcements were needed in certain places. The film ended with a funeral for all those who were killed in the square with Ukrainians crying and holding candles and singing their national anthem. The film ended and my eyes were tearing, not from sadness, but because I hadn’t blinked for the second half of the two hour film.

Maidan is one of the most impactful movies I have ever seen. This is not because you see real-life murders happening in the street. It is a truthful depiction of a revolution that plays out right in front of your eyes; it shows the self-destruction of a city as it progresses from peaceful protests and singing to fires, riots, and death. Maidan offers a rare and precious close-up depiction of history in the making, without the bias and showiness from news networks. I cannot think of another instance when the general public has gotten to see and experience something so truthful and untouched, because it isn’t hiding the realities of what is happening in Ukraine but showing it in its purest form (other than actually being there). There is nothing more impactful than the truth laid out before you with zero sugar coating.

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Tell Me About Your Life Experiences JR

I have always wanted to be a real estate developer and start my own business so that I can build sustainable apartment buildings that do not waste resources or energy, and as a result, end up paying for themselves over a few years. Building sustainable apartment buildings would be easier and more valued in other countries around the world, but I realized, sustainable buildings would have a greater impact in the U.S. where there is currently a smaller presence of them in the market. I want to be part of the trend toward more sustainable lifestyles, and JR is one of the reasons I have bigger dreams and aspirations for my passion.

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A Potential Cure to Our Sleepless Lives

Originally, I was going to propose inventing a dream machine that would record people’s dreams and play them back to us in the morning like television. I came up with this because I hardly ever remember my dreams, and I thought that remembering dreams would provide insight into peoples’ sub-conscious minds; thus enabling people to understand themselves in a new light. However, as I tried to research the importance of dreams, the subject was largely overshadowed by the importance of sleep, so I decided to add to my invention. If I could have something invented, I would want a sleeping cap invented that when put on, would help to relax people’s minds in order to fall asleep faster and easier. But, because dreams and sleep are so interconnected (and I think remembering dreams would be fascinating), this sleeping cap would also record our dreams and replay them to us the next morning.

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Establishing Meaningful Client Relationships

The last Action Research panel focused on client relationships in the business and art world. Professor Matt Bailey presented a perspective on clients from a career in information systems and Professor Tulu Bayar presented a perspective on clients from a career as an artist. These two panelists provided very different viewpoints to business relationships than I had previously thought about, as I am not pursuing a career in either area; however, a combination of their perspectives provided an interesting comparison.

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Some Americans Today Still Do Not Have Equal Voting Rights

As I was watching an episode of “Last Week with John Oliver,” an interesting topic caught my attention. Around 4.1 million American citizens today still do not have equal voting rights. These are the citizens of our American island territories: the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Marianas. Even more troubling, the law that forbids these citizens to have equal voting rights dates back to 1901 and was created because the islands were inhabited by “alien races,” as 98.4% of the inhabitants are racial minorities. The law was written by the same man who wrote the separate but equal decision in Plessey v. Ferguson, Henry Brown, but even he said these exceptions to the constitution should only be temporary. A century later, these American citizens are still discriminated against.

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Uber: Transforming Transportation

Uber is a company that has taken new technological developments and used them to create a superior service within the transportation industry amid the changing sociocultural influences of today’s societies. In their strategies to align stakeholder interests and expand into new territories, Uber has instigated some public concern about their operations, but has overall set the company up with the potential to provide a great value to society. In addition to providing an explanation of why Uber has been valued so highly in the eyes of investors and the admiring public, my analysis of Uber will look at whether the company is providing sufficient benefits to outweigh its downsides on the basis of consequential ethics. As a user of Uber’s App myself, the analysis will provide a foundation for Uber customers to decide whether this is a company worthy of our business.

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Uber: Transforming Transportation Around the World

Uber is a company that has taken new technological developments and used them to create a superior service within the transportation industry amid the changing sociocultural influences of today’s societies. Uber allows for greater convenience for their riders and improves the economy of the communities within which they operate through job creation, while also operating in accordance to local, state, federal, and international laws and regulations. Because Uber is a young company that is transforming the transportation industry and entering the food and delivery service industry, I think it would be a very interesting company to research in greater detail.

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A Lifetime of Outdoor Adventure

Recreational Equipment, Inc is a outdoor retail store and co-op that sells a broad range of recreational gear. It is a company that brings together a group of people who are passionate about going on outdoor adventures and preserving the outdoor environment. I have been a member since I was young, and my friends and I have often found ourselves spending hours at a time simply meandering throughout the store looking at all the outdoor gear and apparel. After doing more research, I found that REI is not only great as a customer, but also as an employee. REI is a store that truly embraces a life committed to the outdoors.  Continue reading A Lifetime of Outdoor Adventure