WELCOME

Thank you for checking to see "What Is On My Mind Today!" You will find a wide range of things interest me and I hope you will add your comments too! I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

CQS-Day Six

What's On My Mind TodayToday was Mobile Journalism day.  The training we had the other day on iPhones and apps was put into practice. 

We used Twitter, TwitPic, U-Stream, Audioboo, iMovie, Tumblr, and a few other apps to show how we can be effective journalists with technology on an iPhone. 

We used free Wi-Fi or our professor, who was a "Hot Spot" to post our data.  I found a closed Fed Ex with free Wi-Fi and was able to upload my pics, tweets and videos.

We also had a hands-on training with Danese Kenon, former Chipster, and multimedia journalist at the Indianapolis Star.  She broke down effective introductions and closing of videos, but her expertise and our ability to ask one-on-one questions was the best.

She is a consummate professional and dedicated to helping us succeed, just like the other presenters and teachers. 

Again, I am so grateful to be a part of this program.  I only wish the best for all of the summer 2011 Chipsters.

LYJ

Saturday, May 21, 2011

CQS-Day Five

What's On My Mind TodayWell, as much fun as today was, I am completely wiped out and cannot wait to get to the hotel.

Today, we made "World Champions" videos...I know ours is HILARIOUS, but can't tell about any of the other groups because they are keeping them a secret until tomorrow.  Oh well...not putting that one up, sorry, its only for educational purposes.  Monday will be the journalistic one. 

Tomorrow is mobile journalism at its best with a field trip to Downtown Nashville.  We will use our iPhones to use Twitter, Tumblr, and TwitPic. 

Tomorrow, Chipster Denise Kenon will show us her work and help us fine tune our skills.  Another full day over and can't wait for another. 

We have two more Chipsters leaving tomorrow...Good luck ladies.

LYJ

Friday, May 20, 2011

Accomplishment of CQS Day Four

video

What's On My Mind TodayI am proud of the final product but it was a task to complete.  The heat, the chase to keep up with the segway, and then the editing of audio and pictures...but it was all worth it.

We used Audacity, Photoshop, Final Cut and what you see is the work of my fellow Chipster, Bertrand Teo and myself.

The presenters spent a lot of time lining up great story concepts for us to use our creativity to make these videos.  Stay tuned...Sunday we will start our videos and complete on Monday.

Can't wait to get to The Plain Dealer and hopefully find a story where I can incorporate everything I have learned. 

LYJ

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CQS-Third Full Day

What's On My Mind TodayEXHAUSTION...that is what is on my mind today.  As if the other jammed packed days weren't enough...I can honestly say, today was worse.  We started with multimedia training and thank God for Prof. Gugliotta and his manner of teaching because today was just a review until we got to the audio...

Audio while we only recorded a 5 minute interview with about 15 minutes of ambient sound, it took approximately 4 hrs to weddle it down to out 90 second sound clip.  Our story is on Rusty, the Nashville Ambassador...security on a segway helping the tourists of downtown Nashville. 

He was a character!  My fellow Chipster did audio and I took photos.  I think we got a grand slam on this one but we won't know until tomorrow. 

But Val Hoeppner and Anne Medley are the best at what they do.  Thanks so much for showing me the ropes. 

Prof. Gugliotta and Mr. Omori, I will need a little technical support but I plan to use these newly learned skills to make my stories a complete package. 

On a personal note, time is flying by.  I really miss home but I am loving this unique learning experience. 

LYJ

CQS, Second Full Day

What's On My Mind TodayYesterday...was AMAZING.  I had the opportunity to meet John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, located at the Diversity Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. 


John Quinn, co-founder of Chips Quinn Scholars program and John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, embrace after Seigenthaler's emotional speech at the Diversity Institute in Nashville, TN.

Seigenthaler's candor while discussing his "blindness" to race while growing up and his transition to "seeing", his time with working with John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, his time with the Freedom Riders and his journalism career...awe inspiring.

I sat listening to him and almost cried and did cry during the special showing of the PBS special that aired earlier this week on the Freedom Riders. 

Karen Catone, director of the Chips Quinn Scholars program commented that through all of her education and schooling, she never learned about the Freedom Riders.  I agreed and this is something ALL Americans should know about.  Its a story of the beginnings of unifying this country.


Karen Catone, director of Chips Quinn Scholars program.


We also had a fun-filled and truly education time with Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center.  As journalist the First Amendment is the foundation of our past, present and future.

In an interactive session, Paulson challenged the Chipsters knowledge and took extra time to field questions on convergence in media and what we journalists should know to succeed.   



Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center explains the First Amendment  and its importance to Summer 2011 Chipsters.

Everyday, I realize the true investment the people of the Chips Quinn Scholars program, Freedom Forum and the First Amendment Center at the Diversity Institute have made for me and the other Chipsters to become successful journalists and it's an humbling experiene.  

Today, we begin our multimedia training...I am so ready. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CQS, First Full Day

What's on My Mind Today:  Day one was a grueling day in that it was nearly 12 hours of non-stop, "Quinn time" activities.  John Quinn is a stickler for a schedule and I know he is proud of all of us for getting done an hour ahead of schedule!

We started learning about mobile journalism from Val Hoeppner...she is amazing with technology.  She taught us how to use a gazillion apps for the iPhone and had us using those apps immediately posting to the Freedom Forum blog, and Twitter accounts.

We had small group coaching to outline our internship goals.  My career coach is Colleen Fitzpatrick.  She has set up an amazing weekly discussion for us and answered just about every question we could come up with.

And any questions we couldn't think of, Jack Marsh, address in his very impactful, "Rules of the Room."  He outlined newsroom protocol do's and don'ts. 

We celebrated 20 years of Chips Quinn Scholars with John Quinn during lunch.  After lunch he told us of his son's, John "Chips" Quinn, work ethic and mission to make newsroom diverse.  As well as a story from an African-American woman who Chips helped to move up the ladder in an all white, predominantly male newspaper.

The day ended with a game of News Mania, buzzers and all!  The blue team, which I was on, rallied back to within 5 points to lose 490 Blue to 495 Red.  It was a wonderful time and great end to a super busy day. 

I can't wait for today...several Chipster Alumni are speaking to us today as well as another session with our career coaches, but I was informed there's a Chipster at the PD and he has already emailed offering his assistance, even before I start my internship.

This is a family that I am so glad to be a new member of...I proudly call myself a Chipster!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Journey to Nashville, TN for Chips Quinn Scholars (CQS) Orientation

What's on My Mind Today:  Starting today I will outline my daily activities and experiences while in Nashville.  While I knew the Chips Quinn Scholars (CQS) was an amazing program, I didn't get the full grasp until I arrived to meet some very special people.

My day actually started out at 3:30 a.m. as I prepared to leave by finishing the laundry and ironing my husband's clothes for the time I will be gone.  I also fixed us steak and eggs for breakfast. 

Ultimately, everything was smooth sailing to get here, especially the landings of the pilots at US Airways!  I never could tell we had touched down, which I truly appreciated! 

The only near debacle was when Harold, the driver from Grayline, gave my luggage to someone else! In Harold's defense, the gentleman just glanced and pointed out my bag as his own.  Luckily the man, with the Australian accent, was at the wrong hotel and called for pick-up right when we discovered he had the wrong bag.  The situation was quickly alleviated by Harold, as he dropped the other customer off at the correct Best Western with the correct luggage and then returned me and my belongings to Embassy Suites Vanderbilt. "That is the first time in two years I gave the wrong luggage away," said Harold as I entered the hotel. 
 
The John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University houses the Freedom Forum, First Amendment Center and Diversity Institute.  This is where the summer class of CQS will use the state of the are newsroom, classrooms and library and become CQS!

Chips Quinn was the son of Loie and John Quinn, the founders of the CQS program, named for their son, a journalist who was unexpectedly killed in an accident.  Chips Quinn was a young editor at the Poughkeepsie Journal when he was killed, but prior to his death, "Chips accepted all people," said R. B. Quinn, his brother, in the information on how the program began. 

I think it is amazing how Loie and John Quinn turned the tragic loss of their son into a program that incorporates John Quinn's longtime work with newsroom diversity to help new journalists of color. 

John Quinn, a former journalist, spoke of our entering into his family and fulfilling a legacy.  It was not only the speech that moved me, it was the personal greeting at the door and references he made to each of the 23 summer CQS.  He took time to get to know us, even before our arrival.  John Quinn is 76 and traveled from Providence, R.I. to meet us.  His charm, humor and dedication to journalism are contagious.

We met staff of CQS, Freedom Forum and Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University, as well as the summer class of "Chipsters" as we are affectionately called by John Quinn. The staff emulates the same dedication of John Quinn.  

The days are full of learning on a VERY tight schedule, but I am so excited to get started.  I thank God; everyone at CQS, especially Karen Catone and Jack Marsh; and Debra Adams Simmons, editor of The Plain Dealer  and my journalism professors at Cleveland State University for making this opportunity possible for me--I will not let you down!

TIME TO GET STARTED!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Leaving for Orientation as a Chips Quinn Scholar (CQS) in the Morning!

Whats On My Mind TodayPacking is what is on my mind...even though I am so very excited, a little procrastination is going on.  But not solely because of the orientation but I have so much to still do....laundry, packing, measuring the back to verify I can avoid paying $25!

I can't wait to meet Karen Catone, director of CQS program.  She had an integral part in my getting to this point.  I am going to get together with a bunch of serious jounalists and can't wait to learn everything I can so I can do the best possible job at The Plain Dealer.

I am so grateful for this opportunity....keep looking for my byline in the paper. 

Twenty-Three Years in the Making

What's on My Mind Today I will finally complete my B.A. in journalism and promotional communication on Saturday. It has been a long road to haul but I am so grateful for all the experiences and people I have met along the way.

My family has been such a great support.  My husband should get the "Best Husband of a College Student Award" because he has been a constant cheerleader, motivator and supporter the entire time.  My children, especially my daughter for the math help and encouragement and my parents for just being my parents and lending extra gas money when I needed it.

My professors, classmates, advisors have challenged me to go beyond where I thought I could ever go.  Thank you!

But I have grown so much since 2008 when I returned to college.  I was always confident but now I have a true reason to be confident. 

Despite the 20 years it took me to return, I feel I owe it all to God.  This was the timing the Lord set for me to do this.  I have always been a writer, but I stepped out on faith when life through me a curve ball and God has been blessing me all throughout.  Allowing me to go to CSU and succeed in all my classes despite the pain and numbness of my back and legs, financial dilemmas and fear of failure. 

It's an accomplishment I never would have earned without the Lord and I thank Him for continually bringing the inner dream to the surface numerous times and never letting me keep it buried.  My goal was to have my B.A. by the time I was 40, well technically I didn't do it but I won't be 41 until September and I am still in my fortieth year, so I'll say goal achieved!  And I wanted to show my kids that dreams do still come true, no matter how old you are.

While they are young adults now with the rest of their lives ahead of them, I want them to know that no matter what life throws their way, they can still make their dreams come true.  Realistically, none of us will hit the lottery, but with hard work, we can all complete the true dreams God has placed there and prosper according to God's will.

God, I am truly indebted to you for allowing your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins and for finding favor in me to succeed...AMEN.

LYJ

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kasich Stabs Republican Voters in Cuyahoga County in the Back

Whats On My Mind Today:  In today's Plain Dealer (April 25, 2011) an analysis was taken of the votes Kasich received compared with the school districts expected to take the biggest reduction in state funding.  Well, the people who voted for him are the ones he's going after.

This is a strange twist for a republican...they usually tax the poor and protect the wealthy.  The voters in the districts like Orange, Westlake, Rocky River and Beachwood are all up in arms.  Over the next two years these and a few other areas are slated to lose up to 79 percent in funding from the state.

In a last ditch effort, Ohio republicans in the  House are trying to save face and votes by critiquing Kasich's budget for education.  They know education is a sore spot for voters.  And since their campaigning will begin again real soon, they need to calm down the superintendents of these districts.

The superintendents are not having it.  Superintendents are telling the voters, the parents, what THEIR governor is going to do.  Republicans are saying the superintendents have it all wrong.  All I know are kids are going to suffer.

I don't care, at this point, that urban areas are protected and possibly will not lose as much.  Even with the cuts expected to these suburban schools their students will still have opportunities students in districts like Cleveland Municipal School District may never have. 

Still, cutting education on the K-12 level is RIDICULOUS.  How is our society to evolve is the children are not educated in a way that will continue to grow and function?  It won't.  There are plenty of other areas he could cut...all these construction projects that are so poorly managed is one area.  Why do we cause chaos and confusion by blocking 5 miles of road they can realistically only work on a half to a mile at a time.  For the protection of the workers, block a half mile before and after, fix a section COMPLETELY, then block the next half to a mile. 

This will eliminate extra congestion on high traffic arteries, making it less of an impact on the tax payers.  By doing this, everyone will see progress at a much faster rate.  Another thing, find a more compatible material against salt instead of filling the holes today and digging them up with the first snow and then leaving a hazard for taxpayers vehicles. 

Cut some of the politicians salaries!  Politicians should earn their pay and most of them don't!   If you are suppose to be in the business of being a public servant, start with the salary.  Police, firefighters, teachers, service men and women are the worst paid public employees doing the hardest jobs.  If you want to make a difference, prove it.  Stop living above your means and do the job we put you in office to do.  If you want to get rich, start your own company, don't get over by doing a substandard job on my dime.

What do you think?

Internships & Employment Opportunities

What's On My Mind TodayInternships and employment opportunities seem to work hand and hand for a communication major and many other degrees.  They won't hire you unless you did an internship to gain experience but then why don't they want to pay you for the internship experience.  As a student you pay your college tuition just to get 4 credits to work for FREE.  That makes no sense to me.

Interns come in with ideas, stamina, creativity and a willingness to learn, but they aren't even worth minimum wage.  Nowhere else could/would someone work for free, that's called volunteering.  Did the possible employer realize how much more they could get from someone by respecting the fact they have gone to school, racked up large loans, to learn their craft and deserve something in return, even if its a stipend? 

In addition, internships need to take into account that the vehicle that will get you to the job does not run on FREE gas or FREE maintenance.  What if you have a family?  You cannot tell the landlord, I can't pay you because my internship, which I need to get a paying job is unpaid, and I will pay the rent when I get a paying job!  Or do you tell your child they can't go on the school field trip that cost $15 because your internship is UNPAID?

Why is it because I am a student my intellectual capital-my thoughts, ideas and dreams-can be used for free for the benefit of a company that may or may not hire me.  I realize the experience is beneficial and can be used on my resume, but I am working...doing a job, in most cases, they are paying others in the company to do, so why am I not good enough to get paid, even if its just a stipend?

I would love feedback on this topic.  Thanks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Senoritis...Graduation Looms

Whats on My Mind TodayGraduation...it's all I can think about.  It's called senioritis and for whatever the reason, this ailment makes concentrating on your major/minor very difficult.  After spending years on honing my journalistic skills, this semester has me all turned around. 

I am so ready, its exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow.  I have my cap, gown and stole.  I received my honors cords and pin from Lambda Pi Eta and now await my honors medallion for graduating cum laude. 

Everything but my math class, I acknowledge I procrastinated on taking, and my Independent Study (IS) on magazine writing are the only concerns I have.  The reason my IS is an issue is because I have spent 6 months doing research and 2 weeks ago, after trying unsuccessfully for nearly 4 weeks to write my 2000-5000 word long form article, I changed my mind.

I have a new topic and going for the gusto on it now.  Although I am not doing the other article topic, I am using some of my research for this article but its adding another layer to the new story. 

Math, my nemesis, is diffiecult on my 40 year old brain!  Especially since this math is truly nothing I will use in life again...voting math, Euler and Hamilton circuits...USELESS.  But to get that degree and prove I am a well-rounded graduate, I am doing it. 

As if graduating was not enough to worry about, I am still waiting on notification of acceptance into graduate school.  Didn't make it into the highly competitive NEOMFA program, but still in line for the M.A. in English with Creative Writing concentration.  Just a matter of time, but completing all my graduate assistantships.

I also didn't become a Chips Quinn Scholar due to lack of host newsrooms in my area, and my disability but I have been offered the opportunity in the Spring or Summer of 2012, which means something. 

In planning for my future, I am applying for jobs all over the south, and if I am hired, I'll find a college down there to start in January.  But I am still applying in Ohio as well.  If I obtain a job here than I am all set for a couple years and my dreams of moving south will occur then when I find a school where I can obtain my doctorate in literary journalism.

But none of my plans matter until I graduate...HURRY UP ALREADY!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AFL-CIO

What's on My Mind TodayI am researching the merger of the AFL-CIO and I am so engrossed in what they have done, as well as what they still need to accomplish.  I am writing a piece for the Cleveland Stater's special series, "History at Your Doorstep." 

I am wondering if I could find folks who remember, possibly were involved.  Let me know.  Thanks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beware of Flooding

What's on My Mind TodayAll I am seeing are updates about flooding in the surrounding areas in Northeast and Northwest Ohio.  Please heed these warnings. 

If you should see standing water, DO NOT underestimate the depth of that water and drive through it.  Also, beware of fast-flowing water on roadways...that's a warning sign to flash flooding.

Flash floods are just that...flooding that happens out of nowhere.  This usually occurs when water levels crest about flood stage.  This is very dangerous and is difficult to predict.  As the overflow of water fills the storm drains and sewers it backs up onto the roadways.  In low lying areas the water collects and turns into a mini lake very quickly and vehicles become flooded. 

The potential for true issues is much greater when you try to drive through, so be safe and find an alternate route. 

If traveling somewhere new check out the local TV channels websites where these kind of alerts are continuously updated.

For you fishing people:  No fish are worth the danger; the fish will still be there when the rivers slows down the the mud settles!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Insomnia

What's on My Mind TodayI have had this problem for years, ever since I worked for the U.S. Postal Service.  Ensuring your mailman can get the mail to you is a 24-hour operation.  I worked at one of the largest post offices in the Cleveland area and started my shift at midnight or 1 a.m. with mandatory, regular overtime.  But this was way before the Internet became popular and mail volume decreased drastically.

But working that shift for nearly seven years makes it impossible to sleep like normal people without the use of sleeping aids. This is why I am blogging at nearly 4:30 a.m., but I have been up for over 2 hours.  Tonight, I filled out some job applications which prayerfully will turn into a permanent job.

Since I am up, I am either going to working on my new short story or read a book...that's what I do! 

For all you insomniacs, I hope you get some sleep soon!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Melissa Newman, Appalachian Fiction Writer

What's On My Mind TodayMy friend's mom is Melissa Newman and she is an Appalachian Fiction Writer.  In her past career she was an award winning journalist, editor and publisher. 

Out of the goodness of her heart, she is taking time away from her visit with her daughter to enlighten other journalists, screenwriters and writers at Cleveland State University. 

Last year, I had the honor of meeting Jeanette Walls, another former journalist who is now a creative, non-fiction writer.  She achieved success with her autobiography, The Glass Castle.

Rita Cosby, a broadcast journalist and successful author was just at Cleveland State less than two weeks ago discussing her father's life, her Polish heritage and the journey she made with her dad back to Poland. 

These ladies are just a few of many current and former journalists who have become successful as authors.

As everyone knows, I too, am a journalist and an aspiring fiction writer, praying to one day publish a book.

But I would like to take this time to thank each of them and anyone who shares their knowledge and craft with others, especially students. 

Thank you and keep on writing.

(I am ordering Sister Blackberry tonight, in hopes it will arrive before Ms. Newman's visit.  Everyone who knows me, knows if I get two days it'll be read way before she makes it to Cleveland!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Individual Drive

What's On My Mind Today:  Everyone has a passion for something.  Whatever it is, people usually put their 110% into it. 

For me it's my writing, journalistic and creative fiction writing equally, and secondly, my immense love of fishing. 

I read as many things as I can on how to write the best articles and stories, as well as read as much fiction as I can.  I track the fish, monitor ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) fishing reports, check water levels, follow new techniques by watching all the fishing pros on their TV shows, etc.  To some this may seem extreme, but it's not because that is what I love. 

Some people love the Cleveland Browns and are DIE HARD fans or sports in general.  They follow everything, even when they are losing.  They never give up on their team(s). 

All of this is great if you can incorporate those drives into something productive.  Using sports as an example, the former editor of  The Cleveland Stater, Daniel Wolf, took his love of football and turned it into a paying job!  Wolf recently started a new website, www.nationalfootballauthority.com.  (For you football junkies, it's an amazing website.)

I use Wolf as an example...why don't more people take that same kind of initiative?  Because that is what drives him...so what drives you? 

Let me know what you personally have done because of your 'Individual Drive'.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Budget and Ohio's State Universities

What's on My Mind Today:  The changes in our state government will have a serious impact on students attending state universities.  For whatever reason, I am not sure why education of citizens is not a priority for everyone.  The people who make the decisions for the state must realize the benefits it will gain by having an educated group of people voting. 

But maybe that is just the problem.  In recent years, educating all has not been on the agenda.  Oh, they have done a good job of making it appears so but "No Child Left Behind" is just what that program does.  It allows schools and parents to make decisions on if a child should be promoted...not necessarily on the basis of the child's readiness to move on.  Which is why we have a country full of high school graduates which are barely literate. 

Then you have the people who have struggled to graduate and then there is no funding for them to go to school.  Everyone says the children are our future, they are but why are they the ones being slighted in the process.  The concept of state universities was to provide a quality education to the people of its state.  But if the upcoming cuts to Cleveland State University are any indication of what other state universities in Ohio will face, watch out.

As students, we are a wide ranging, and diverse group with power, if we choose to use it.  What are going to do to ensure your educational funds are protected?  CSU has already lost a 35-year program, Continuing Education...this program was an integral part to assisting professionals with continuing with their educational goals, mostly staying current with licensing requirements. 

We need to make it our business to make sure state universities and our schools in general give us what we need.  SOUND OFF! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Striving for All You Can Be

What's on My Mind Today:  While dealing with the depression, job loss and shortages, you have to work harder to succeed.  I don't care if you flip burgers, work at the grocery story, etc. do the job you were hired to do to the best of your ability. 

The fact you have a job is an important one but remember if you are let go or terminated there is someone in the ranks waiting for their chance.  Come to work early, ready to start at your starting time, respect the rules and your co-workers around you.

Don't do it because the boss is watching but do it for yourself.  But a work ethic you will be proud of.  Make your accomplishments memorable in case your next employer calls to see what kind of employee you were.  Don't back down when offered more responsibility.  Take it on.  Mentor your peers to ensure everyone succeeds. 

Its important to help one another because one day it may be you who needs the help and the kindness you extended will be returned to you double. 

LYJ

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Editor-in-Chief of The Cleveland Stater

What's on My Mind TodayToday, I begin a new chapter in my life at 40 years of age.  I am stepping into a role I pray I will do justice too.  I am following in the steps of friends who have successfully changed journalism as we read it on the campus of Cleveland State University. 

I am honored to work with this group of journalists.  Some would say "up and coming" while I will continue to call them journalist.  Last semester, we produced a NEWSpaper with investigative reporting which took months to sift through the data, as well as brought to the attention many issues to the eye of the CSU community.  These men and women work hard at the craft and succeed at it!

In the coming weeks, it is my goal to continue that foundation.  I welcome you to follow The Cleveland Stater at http://www.clevelandstater.com/

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

What's on My Mind Today:  2011!  This year is a special year for me, my 20+ year journey to obtain my bachelor's degree will end May 2011.  While this is a mile stone, the decision to continue my education is the most exciting of all.  I have decided to combine my love of writing and reading and follow my heart and go for my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  The MFA is a terminal degree which means if I chose to stop there, I can teach creative writing and obtain tenure.  But, TODAY, I believe I am going to pursue my doctorate in Literary Journalism.  A combination of my true loves!  I haven't forgotten about library sciences either!

But 2011 also holds many possibilities...I may be chosen to be a Chips Quinn Scholar, which is an honor, but the paid internship with a host newsroom from somewhere in the U. S. is the best.  The invaluable experience I will gain will increase my marketability.  I am also doing an Independent Study in Magazine writing that could land me published in several reputable magazines increasing my chances to be hired where I want.