CIV Gets a Taste of Celebrity

By: Kimberly White, CIV Honors Graduate, June 2011

On a rainy, unseasonably cool Sunday in September, two Italian reality television personalities brought a little sunshine to Virginia Beach. Top Chef fan favorite, Fabio Viviani and Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice along with Culinary Institute of Virginia Chef Instructor, Dedra Blount headlined as the finale attraction during the Mediterranean Festival at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The three day event began on Friday, September 16, was a celebration of Greek and Italian cuisine, music and culture.

The show began with a flawless cooking demo by Chef Dedra Blount, who effortlessly produced a beautiful dish of Quinoa Risotto and Veal Chops over a beautiful Pear Sauce with the assistance of CIV student Jeanine McDougald. CIV Academic Director, Chef Steve Sadowski was also on hand to demonstrate the proper technique for fabricating veal chops.

Teresa Giudice, known for her somewhat explosive temper, eclectic style, feuding family, legal woes, four rambunctious daughters, and New York Times bestselling cookbooks, Skinny Italian and Fabulicious, was next to take the stage. Teresa demonstrated how to make Devil Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta which is one of the recipes featured in her most recent cookbook. As she cooked, she fielded questions from the audience. Although Teresa seemed a little uncomfortable with the actual cooking portion of the demo, she wooed the audience with her candor, vivaciousness and down-to-earth quality that seems to be sincerely who she is.

Culinary team with Fabio Viviani of Top Chef and Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey

The icing on the proverbial cake in the event was Fabio Viviani, who came to the stage amid cheers and cat calls from screaming fans. Completely comfortable and commanding on stage, Fabio had the cameraman come right up to the demo table so that every step of his presentation could be seen clearly and up close by the audience. Fabio was assisted by CIV student, Jackie Beau. As Fabio began to make his famous Potato Gnocchi dish, he regaled the audience with funny antidotes and his philosophy about cooking and how Italians use very simple, fresh ingredients. He kept the audience completely entertained and engaged while giving cooking instructions.  After producing a pillowy light Gnocchi that he then finished in vibrant roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, he had every person in the audience come up to the stage to try one. Fabio’s hilarious stories about growing up in an Italian family were endearing and you totally felt how sincere and passionate he is about cooking and sharing his love of food with his family, friends and fans.

 

Let the Gaming Begin

Gaming. For some people this means Pac-Man in an arcade in their teens. For others, such as the Gaming Club at ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus, it means the opportunity to create its own role-playing game. The club set out to create “Truth Sayer,” which is set in medieval times and follows a person who is attempting to discover why the world is in ruins. Ultimately, he discovers it is because no one tells the truth, that there are no truth sayers.

It began with a group of students who had participated in a few workshops and stayed after class a few additional hours to work on the development of the game. After being self-taught in Unity, John Di Bona, now an ECPI graduate, taught his fellow students the program. Unity is a game development program, and it was because of John’s experience with the program that he is now employed at MYMIC, a high-technology business specializing in training analysis, simulation, modeling, and computer visualization solutions for the military. “Even though I’ve graduated I still participate as I want to see this thing through since I initiated the process,” said John.

There are now about 20 students who have contributed. “We want people who have a genuine desire to create a game and not just because it is in their field,” explained John of the team. “It is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun.”

“It’s been a huge learning experience with the skill set needed often exceeding our experience, but we learn as we go,” said John. The entire process will take about 12 to 18 months with the ultimate goal to sell the game for the personal computer or Macintosh.

http://www.wrendercreations.com/

 

“I’ll build an app for that.”

After six years in the Air Force, Eric Richardson wanted to transition to civilian life by completing his education. Who better to ask for advice than his father who suggested ECPI University after graduating himself in the 1960s. Eric enrolled in the Web Development program at the Richmond Campus’s Moorefield location in Virginia using his VA benefits. Two years ago he began the process and he completed his last class to obtain his bachelor’s in September. He has already landed an exciting job with Willow Tree Apps.

“I liked the core programming classes that included Java and C# (pronounced C sharp for the less tech savvy),” said Eric. “After I got the hang of it, I knew that is what I wanted to do.” After Career Services assisted with an introduction to Willow Tree Apps, Eric earned employment over lunch with Michael Prichard, the founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Willow Tree Apps was founded in 2007 and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. They were one of the first companies to launch an iPhone app, and its Spotasaurus app is often featured in Apple’s television and print advertising. “I’ve been attending weekly meetings while I’m still in school prior to making the move,” said Eric. “They have a west-coast start-up feel with an open, friendly atmosphere. It is going to make a great environment.”

Eric admits that the year-round schedule at ECPI was challenging but really appreciated the small class sizes. “I was able to ask questions and actually get a response,” explained Eric. “There was more interaction that the typical school environment.”

Youth Career Center Celebrates One-Year with Support from ECPI

On September 22 the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads celebrated its one-year anniversary. The center provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth. On average, more than 50 people walk into the career center located in Pembroke Mall daily. In its first year, the center has made more than 12,000 connections.

Kevin Paveglio, ECPI’s Virginia Beach Campus President and Matt Albano, MCI Virginia Beach Campus Director participates in the check presentation at the Youth Career Center.

ECPI University and its school of health science, Medical Careers Institute, have been working with the center since its opening in September 2010. In celebration of the anniversary ECPI donated $25,000 in support of the center operations and services.

Not relying solely on mall traffic the center partners with Hampton Roads high schools to bring students on field trips to the center during the day. One of the student’s favorites is the Virtual Youth Career Center which allows students to create avatars to access online information.

Art as Communication

Who doesn’t love a good field trip? Students of Principles of Speech class in Raleigh, North Carolina were treated to a field trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art that cleverly reinforced their in-class lessons covering verbal and nonverbal communication. Instructor Gloria Hicks said, “I love to use field trips and guest speakers to enhance our learning experience. An art docent and former art teacher put together a presentation specifically for our class, entitled Communication on Canvas.”

The trip amplified the learning experience as the sculptors and painters used nonverbal communication to send all types of messages through their work. “Art is a form of communication,” explained Gloria. “Many of my students had never visited a museum before and were mesmerized by what they saw and didn’t want to leave.”

Front row from left to right: Angela Marshall, Sandra Kucmierz, Anna Tarleton, Chris Smith, Jasmine Terry and Anthony Sala. Back row from left to right: Renee Gordon, Claude Brice, Amber Anthony, Bradley Spray, John Whitesides, Crystal Ray, Ms. Gloria Hicks, Instructor, Tyrone Tarvin, Joseph Macon and Monte Willis.