Category: On Campus

A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 5

By Dana Abdhulay


Photo by Priscila.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?

When I was five, my dad decided to come to the U.S. to work and to have a better life too. And my mom, she wanted to move too, but she couldn’t because she was with us. And then after that she got some money that made her able to come to the U.S. and left us, just like that. My dad wasn’t aware that she had left Mexico to the U.S.; he came back to Mexico after a year to take care of us.
All of that had changed me to be more reserved, more like to myself. I like to think things through before I do it — being independent kind of thing.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

I have a lot of friends who are from different cultures, and even though we came from different backgrounds, we still share and went through similar experiences. And we think that because we are from different cultures that we’re different, but actually Continue reading “A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 5”


A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 4

By Dana Abdulhay



Photo by Sreyneang.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?


I grew with separated parents, they were actually separated before I was born. My mom moved to the U.S. and I lived away from her in Cambodia. I wasn’t sure who I am. I was a reckless child. When I got to the U.S., I was 13 years old. I saw my mom, how is she working hard and raising a family, so I had to change my attitude and become more responsible.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

I learned friendship is really [more] important than anything. I guess it doesn’t matter what background you’re from; friendship gets us closer together, it’s more about person to person than different backgrounds.

Have you ever faced difficult challenges that have prevented you from being who you are?

Yes, a lot — even now, in fact. I want to talk, I want to give my opinion, but because of my English language barrier is preventing me from being how I want to be. It makes me feel like I’m stuck in the corner just listening instead of talking. Even though sometimes I would have my own ideas, but I won’t share it out loud because I don’t know how to say my thoughts correctly, or else I have to keep explaining to the listener what I mean. Continue reading “A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 4”

SMCC Filmmakers Discuss Maine Mayhem Ahead of Premiere

By Daniele Amandolini

For the past nine years, students in the Communications & New Media department have had the chance to write and direct their own movies — and show them in sold-out theaters throughout the state.

This very unique senior project is known as Maine Mayhem, a creation of CNMS department chair Corey Norman along with former student James Crocco. I had a chance to sit down with this year’s directors, ahead of the May 9 premiere at Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland.

Director Brendan Kellogg and producers Alex Goodwin and Mitchell Kleege guided me through “Crystal Clear,” a movie starring a non-binary protagonist dealing with a wish-granting magical crystal. Heavily influenced by the work of Terry Pratchett, Brendan relied on the Captain’s House when locations proved to be difficult.

Jack Gentempo wrote and directed “Off the Tracks,” a Portlandia-inspired sketch comedy with a very unusual casting process: Jack created a Tinder profile, specifying that he wasn’t looking for a date but for extras for his short film. That’s right: When in doubt, swipe right! You might end up on the big screen.

With “Washed Away,” Madison Holbrook tells a story about friendship and guilt. A car crash is a pivotal moment for her characters, and it was also a huge challenge for Madison as a director. Shot under torrential rains and on the very first day of production, she was able to pull it off brilliantly and cap her intense two years at SMCC that saw her pick up her first camera, dive head-first into film, and have her own movie screened all around Maine.

In describing how her “42 Atwood Lane” came to be, Breanna Penney repeatedly referenced how past experiences have already started shaping her still-young career. Serving as a producer for one of last year’s Mayhem films, she learned the importance of team-building on a film set. Creating a positive environment on set was her main priority, and one that she brings into every project she takes in. As for her movie, the idea came to her in the form of a dream, and follows a teenager who, in Breanna’s words, “attempts to escape the uncertainty of her fragmenting family.”

On a very different note, Justin Taylor’s “Parasite Night” stars a group of actors who fall victim to an intergalactic plot to use their body as vessels for parasites. Justin’s aesthetic is carefully crafted around VHS-era horror flicks, from Vincent Price’s features, to David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome” — a taste developed during his middle-school days, when he first discovered the magical world of movies. When asked how he lightened the mood on his fake-blood-filled set, Justin recalled sneakily recording his actors’ histrionics and attaching clothespins on fellow crew members.

Jason Smith’s “Champ” is a the story of a boxer spiraling into drinking and self-loathing after losing his career match. Inspired by Scorsese’s masterpiece “Raging Bull,” Jason tried his hand a crafting a story around boxing, a sport he knew nothing about. On the opposite, his lead actors are professional boxing trainers who had never stepped on a set before, making “Champ” a learning experience for all of them. The process of guiding them while listening to their input was Jason’s favorite Mayhem experience.

While superhero movies are very common these days, Bodhi Ouellette approached his film “Phoenix” as a more intimate story, focused on the human aspect rather than the visual spectacle. Phoenix is a former superhero, facing demons of the past and a familiar foe. Mayhem represented a great opportunity for Bodhi to grow as a director, and he already has eyes on future projects and developing new ideas.

Closing this list is Ben Rooker’s “The Wile.” While Ben was not available for this interview, his Kickstarter campaign describes the project as “a film about anxiety, isolation, and extraterrestrials.”

All the directors I talked to were clearly touched by the opportunity that Maine Mayhem provided. Seeing their creations on the big screen is something many aspiring filmmakers will never be able to accomplish, and their lives will be forever changed by this experience.

The Maine Mayhem shorts will screen Wednesday, May 9 at 5:30 and 8:30 at Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland. Tickets are available at


A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 3 [updated]

The post has been updated to include Xuux’s interview.

By Dana Abdhulay


Photo by Dee.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?

My family. They always encouraged me and my sisters for our education, and they gave us full support even if they did not have financial resources — they still cheered and supported us.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

Here in U.S. — when I came, it’s totally different than my previous lifestyle and experiences, because the U.S. is different than any other country. It’s a parallel world; for example, here your degree is not recognized and your education and experiences mean nothing if you’re coming from a different country. Here when I applied to some jobs, nobody even called for an interview. It’s kind of challenging, because you are learning something and then you decide to start from zero, and [are] having new experiences and trying totally new things.

Have you ever faced difficult challenges, that have prevented you from being who you are?

Free speech. Even if I’m here in America, I’m not a citizen so I feel my free speech is limited, it’s not easy. I think the most important thing for me is freedom.

Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?

When I apply for jobs, and when they see my name … they don’t even call me because of the stigma. “Sounds like a Muslim or Middle Eastern” — that’s why they don’t even call. Discrimination against ethnicity and religion — as I said earlier, since I’m not a U.S citizen I don’t have the right to fight back. All these rights, amendments, etc., apply just for the citizens.

Who is the most influential person in your life? Continue reading “A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 3 [updated]”

College Courses That Every SMCC Student Should Take

By Mohammed Omane

College can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but sometimes a little recommendation can save you a semester of stress or help you gain the most for your money. I’ve compiled a list of five courses that I think every SMCC student should take if they need one or two more classes for the semester. These courses will not only help you in your academic future, but will teach you important life skills that I think everyone could benefit from. These courses are not part of the general requirements, and most are electives.

1. Personal Finance (BUSN 115)
One of the most crucial skills that many students are not taught in high school is being financially stable. This class has so much applicable material to everyday life. From understanding the topic of insurance to doing taxes, the knowledge from this course will still be used 30 years down the road.

2. Foreign Language (SPAN, FREN, CHN, GERM)
Being monolingual in a very globalized society. Learning a new language, whether you take Spanish and French here at SMCC or take Chinese and German at USM through the GPACU partnership, could really add a lot to your perspective. The added physical benefits and mental fitness a second language provides are also vast. It might be challenging now, but down the road, traveling will be so much more fun and meeting new people will be that much easier.

3. Creative Writing (ENGL 200)
Introductory English only scratches the surface of exposing students to their writing potential. Creative writing teaches you the techniques and strategies of captivating your readers with your next essay or article. This can be applied to so many aspects of a student’s career, from writing scholarship essays to an attention-grabbing cover-letter for that summer internship.

4. Macroeconomics (ECON 125)
Government changes are always happening — from tax cuts to increases in government spending. Understanding how these affect you could save you the surprise of price increases or rises in interest rates on your loans. We hear a lot of economic terms thrown at us every day on the news, social media, and even in conversations with friends. This course will teach you how to perceive these changes in policy and how you could benefit from them.

5. Drawing (ARTS 110)
This is probably one of my favorite courses. Drawing is a calming activity that can help you de-stress after a long lab session or work day. This course, while teaching you all about the arts, allows you to be creative and express yourself through all sorts of material.

Kindness Korner

By The Kindness Mama

Illustration by Sosanya Pok

Another two weeks have passed and still nothing has come into my inbox about any random acts of kindness. Now we are into our last few weeks of our spring 2018 semester and finals are looming around the corner for most of us students at SMCC. I too have finals and have been hard at work getting the final touches done on study guides, passing in any reports and assignments that are due and preparing to pull an all-nighter studying for my exam(s).

With finals on my mind and knowing I needed caffeine to get me through the last of my two classes for the week, I headed over to the campus center for a cup of my favorite coffee from Starbucks. Starbucks is one of the greatest additions to the campus in my time here at SMCC. As I was walking to the line, which was now growing to 10 people, I quickly glanced at my watch and was trying to gauge if I did indeed have enough time to grab a cup of my favorite joe or if I should hightail it out of there and off to my next class.

I must have had the look of a sleepwalker or the walking dead, or had desperation on my face, because the very next person in line asked me if I wanted to go before them. I couldn’t believe it. Out of total disbelief I pointed to myself and asked, “Are you talking to me?” The kind handsome gentleman nodded and responded with a smile: “Yes, I am. Don’t we have class together in five minutes?” I nodded and ever so weakly said I was sorry to all that were in line in front of me.

Now, I normally would never ever do this on a normal day, but this was not a normal day. I had just come from a group presentation that our group had nailed, which was a miracle unto itself, as I had a family emergency and was not as prepared as I should have been. I was almost late for said presentation because of the lack of parking spots available, but was able to find one with only minutes to spare, and because of my time restrictions I had been unable to grab anything for lunch, and it was now almost time for dinner. So, yes, I cut the line; after apologizing to everyone, I paid for my coffee and was in class on time with only seconds to spare.

Now I will pay this forward: I will allow someone else to cut me in line, buy a stranger, fellow student or staff personnel a cup of coffee and keep the kindness wheel rolling. Some of you may not think of this as a random act of kindness, but for me it was so much more!


Business Club gives back

By The Business Club

On Friday, April 20, members of SMCC’s Business Club volunteered their time to help build a house in Scarborough for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity develops “partnership housing” in which volunteers work side-by-side with those in need of adequate shelter. Today, Habitat works in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries, and has helped more than 13 million people “achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent affordable shelter.”
Business Club volunteer members included Matt Brown, Tina Hoang, Feza Mitima and Haleigh Barrett (who volunteered on her birthday!).

Business Club Volunteers (5)