So, I have not blogged yet. As a PR person this virtual reality seemed WAY out of me league. But, as the weeks have gone on I have come to enjoy it. I have realized that I can actually do pretty good on the homework assigned each week and do it in  the time given. I never thought I would actually understand what was going on inworld. Public relations I understand, even journalism I understand to a point being a communication major, but adding virtual reality to my list of skills I never thought would come as naturally as it has. I am excited to learn more and maybe show other members of the team how to do things if they don’t understand.

JIE Virtual World: Enjoying sitting at picnic table  at campfire hill
JIE Virtual World: Enjoying sitting at picnic table at Campfire Hill

A New World


As I begin the third week of this amazing journey, I marvel at the amount of knowledge I have already gained through this project. As the old adage goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, I have literally walked into a world previously unknown to me.  With the mind of a novice, I have learned to walk, run and hopefully by the end of it all, I will be flying into greater heights of knowledge about this New World. Navigating through the virtual world has at times challenged my technological skills, but it has also revealed to me the joys of opening myself up to new ideas and succeeding in accomplishing new tasks.

As a Journalist, I appreciate the role the virtual world plays in highlighting issues of importance in society, and presenting them in a totally innovative way, in this case through the use of machinima. I have learned a lot from my peers who bring to this project such zeal and knowledge, and look forward to the process ahead.


As We Progress with the Project…


Collaborating on this project has been great.  I can’t ask for a better group of colleagues to work with.  We watch, listen and learn. We are patient with each other.  Group members are communicating and as a whole we are progressing.  The most challenging and time consuming issues for me involve inworld activities.  Logging on and learning the process of maneuvering  the camera and avatar proved challenging.  A little tidbit when logging inworld for the first time: your login  is first name space last name. Remember the space.

I wanted to be part of two groups: public relations and journalism, but decided to stick with journalism. Navigating the inworld platform is not that difficult, but learning the process is time consuming. By Sept. 2, 2015, the journalism group will have written outline/plan detailing goals, strategies and tactics for the entire group and for each individual journalist.  We are focused, determined and working hard to make sure the finished project represents our exceptional talents and efforts.  Everyone on the team understands the final goal is creating a phenomenal 4 to 5 minute machinima.

Today I spent a couple hours inworld with my avatar learning how to build.  I was fine until I got to the hallowing and cutting segments.  I left the virtual world to correspond with journalism group members regarding next Wednesday’s meeting and blogged. Our team goes above and beyond to exceed expectations.  It’s refreshing to know I am collaborating with very talented and motivated people.

Going back inworld, blog more soon.



My Voice: Contributing to the Virtual World Project


We had our show and tell on Wednesday, August 26, where we discussed our own greatest works along with connecting that to how we can contribute to the project. My presentation was on an article I wrote about my life with Asperger’s which was published by The Talon in April 2015. Dr. Witt had stated how mental health is one of the issues surrounding juveniles in the justice system, clearly not strange waters to someone who grew up in the autism camp. This makes me want to fall down on my knees and thank God that none of my struggles didn’t lead to being behind bars for any violent mishaps stemming from problems on the inside.

JJIE recently publish a story of a 14-year old inmate who committed suicide on last Easter Sunday. The lead sentence states “Severe understaffing and failures in training and mental health procedures” were factors in his death. It’s no surprise. It would be an interesting study to see how prevalent such circumstances are today and their correlation to the criminal actions of juveniles in the system.

The misconception, still prominent today, is that suicidal teens merely have a vain desire to “seek attention”. That there is no internal problem with them.  All they want is the proverbial spotlight cast on them by their peers or others around them, perhaps only to hear the wailing cries of “Don’t kill yourself! We love you!”. This is pretty far from the truth.

Many of those who feel the burden of suicidal idealization want to be happy. They don’t want to die, they want to live life and live it to the fullest. Yet, on the flip side, they may have a missing sense of self worth which leads to the conclusion (albeit a delusional one) that the world would be a better place without them.

What of those that get convicted and incarcerated so young? Who feel their life is over? Such a young imprisonment may bring the thought that one’s life is over. Especially when combined with mental health issues going unnoticed or untreated.




Inworld Yet?


Has everyone been in world? I have been working with Gwenette setting up my inworld presence, but have not been successful. Verifying the type of system you have prior to setting up the viewer is highly recommended 🙂 I installed and uninstalled the viewer but still having difficulties getting into the JJIE world.  Stopped by the Center for Sustainable Journalism to see Eric, but didn’t find him. Not sure of his schedule so sent Eric and Derek an email regarding help getting online.  Troubleshooting has been time consuming but the lessons very valuable.  I have no doubt I’ll be in world soon. Happy Friday!


Journalists, Technologists and PR, Unite!


During our meeting this morning, each of us twelve students gave a short introductory presentation. Based on the presentations, everyone seems to come from a variety of backgrounds and each one of us has so many different talents and skills to offer for this project.

After the presentations, we determined groups, which mainly became two somewhat-defined groups: Technology & Journalism (+PR & Research). I loved that we were able to choose our groups based on our past experiences and current interests.  Since I worked at the Writing Center and have always loved writing, I am (of course) a part of the Journalism Team. Along with this, I will be taking over the Process Blog and the Research aspect.

During our time with the Journalist group, we discussed some story possibilities and assigned roles, like interviewers, researchers, etc. As of now, we plan to go with the Alton Pitre story. Although Alton is no longer a youth, his story is very interesting: he was born in California, was incarcerated as a teen, and completely turned his life around when he was finally released. Since he currently works for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, he is an easy, immediate contact for a quick story. Next step is to research and plan interviews.  However, we do want to keep searching for stories in Georgia (preferably of youth who are still in prison) so that we can work to amplify their voices while they are in the System.

We have a Conference Call with Steve Reba at 2PM today. Hopefully he can help us find more stories!


Instructions to Get Started

Hi everyone,
Here are some quick instructions on how to get started blogging.
– Log in at with the account details sent to your email.
– To create a new blog post, mouse over “+ New” and click “Post”
– Select “Blog” and your name in the Categories section to the right
– Write your post in the text editor on the left
– When you’re done, click Publish. That’s it!

Blog entries won’t show up on the homepage by default, these are more detail-oriented, make as many as you want and detail your experience with this project.

Gwenette will have the ability to promote a blog entry to the homepage, so write them with that in mind!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or Gwenette.

Virtually Prepared, but Extremely Excited


Since “virtually” as an adjective actually means “nearly” or “almost,” I wanted to make it clear that I am not quite prepared, but I am extremely excited for the JJIE Virtual World Project. Furthermore, the main reason I used “virtual” is because “virtual” is not only one of the most important aspects of this project, but it is also one of the things I am most excited to learn more about.

Now that the JJIE Virtual World’s Project is finally underway, I am so extremely excited for so many reasons.

First, I am excited to be working with so many extraordinary students, professionals, technologists, and researchers to reach one unified goal: to amplify the voices of the marginalized youth in the Juvenile Justice System with innovative technology.

Speaking of innovative technology: this is one of the main reasons why I am “virtually” prepared. OpenSimulator is something I had never experienced before this project; however, all of my insecurities have been calmed thanks to the help of our Virtual World expert, Gwenette. She has already set up a Virtual World Welcome Workshop on OpenSimulator JJIE Virtual World grid, where a set of tasks is awaiting to help us all orient ourselves.

Although not all of us will be working on the technology side of this project, I think that it is so important for every team member to become familiar with the Virtual World environment. As a journalist for this project, the only way I can fully capture the story for the Virtual World is by knowing the types of questions and information I must collect and relay to our VW creators. Furthermore, if we are expecting our audience to navigate through this world as they follow the youth’s story, then we should know how to do the same.

When I first began my inworld experience, I was completely lost. However, the video tutorials and entire Workshop that Gwenette has created for us has really helped me to become more comfortable in this world. After the Prim-Building Tutorial, I feel like I can actually contribute to this world (to a very small extent), and that I can actually teleport, fly, walk, and use many different forms of transportation to navigate inworld. Although I don’t feel completely connected with my Avatar quite yet, I am sure I will begin feeling “one” with her once I can get her clothed the way I want and gain more inworld experience.

Now, as a member of the Journalism team, my next step is to find a story to bring back to life inworld.

Here’s to my first post — sorry about the length, I am really just so excited – the other ones won’t be as long!


Exploring the Metaverse: Underwater Sanctuary

The beautifully constructed underwater sanctuary located on the “VIBE Repository of Knowledge Archive” grid.

Upon entering the sunken facility it becomes obvious every item contained within was meticulously crafted with the intention of providing an immersive experience. Several submerged chambers connected via tunnels house intricately detailed scenes of a marine biologist laboratory with unmistakable steampunk overtones. Various knobs and dials protrude from arcane scientific instruments, jars of liquid containing the remains of bizarre aquatic specimens sit upon shelves, and elaborate depictions of marine life hang from the walls. All of these features contribute to create a captivating and memorable experience. From the rugs on the floor to the skeletal creature hanging from the ceiling, the underwater sanctuary is a perfect example of the level of detail and sophistication possible on the Open Simulator platform.

Snapshot_005Check it out In-World at: