Examples of Work:

These are prior articles I wrote on various subjects and interests.

Redesigning dorm room drab

Brittany Prescott-Kyles, 24, has always wanted to be an interior designer. The cheerful newly-wed never doubted what her passion was in life. The sweet goal-oriented gal from the South mixes country tradition with modern glam. To achieve this balance between simple and ornate, Brittany likes to create focal points using unique pieces—something with character like antique furniture. When asked how she described her personal style, she laughed and answered, “Can I say Pottery Barn?”

Looking at her you would never know that she works for a successful interior design company that is contracted by the University. If you passed her on the street, you would never know that she helped create a space that 2,000 students will call home-away-from-home.  Her design fingerprint will forever rest on the University of Alabama because of a building that isn’t even finished yet. On the north side of campus is a rising megalith of steel next to Rose Towers. This addition to campus, called the North Bluff residence halls, is a three phase housing development that will include two dorms and a new recreational center for students.

Brittany interned for two and half years with the firm Interior Design Professionals, Inc. where she focused specifically on university projects. She was then hired full time after graduating in Spring 2011. UA employs the company to design any structure built or renovated on campus. Most students never put much thought into the people behind the buildings and rooms we spend our college years in, but it takes a small army to plan, build and furnish residence halls.

“We had to think of everything,” Brittany said. Interior designers had to plan every detail, including the molding, paint, fabrics, flooring, counter tops, lighting, wall decorations, and door handles, just to name a few.

When planning the North Bluffs, Brittany said that they stepped outside the usual southern décor. “We pushed the envelope a little bit, so it’s more modern,” Brittany said.

The designers wanted to create a young, mature space for students, but also needed to juggle the traditional demands of the university. When presenting ideas to clients, interior designers usually offer three concepts for the space, which gives the patrons options without overwhelming them. “That’s really important when you’re dealing with clients to keep them in their comfort zone.”

She said the most difficult part is navigating all the channels to get the plans accepted. “You have to get it approved by so many people,” she admits. “It’s challenging to appease everyone.”

Jumping through hoops and over barrels is part of the routine for Interior Design Professionals, Inc. Besides working with the University, they also work with the city to design office buildings, schools and hospitals. Currently, they are working on three elementary schools damaged by the April tornado. They were already in the process of building Holt Elementary before the storm, and now have to start over since it was destroyed.

“The only problem with working for the city is that the budget isn’t as big as you’d like it to be.”

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Terri Sewell seeks jobs for the 7th districts

By Heather Smith

TUSCALOOSA–Congresswoman Terri Sewell spoke at a luncheon Tuesday provided by the Rotary Club at the Indian Hills Country Club on McFarland. One of the main points in her speech was strengthening the job market in Alabama.

Voted the first African American Congress representative for the 7th district of Alabama, she is the only Democratic in Alabama’s delegation. She is a freshman in the 112th Congress and a member of the House committees of agriculture and science,space, and technology. Raised in Selma, Sewell went on to attend Princeton University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford.

Sewell has many notable achievements, but she focused on her story about escorting the president during his inaugural address. She was able to speak with him about her home state a few minutes before his speech.

“I went on to tell the president about the 7th Congressional districts, while one of the poorest districts in the state of Alabama … and one of the poorest in the nation. We also have a high unemployment rate–high drop out rate–but what we lack in economic prosperity, I told him that we more than made up for in heart and in spirit and fight. And that I am convinced that what we need in the 7th Congressional district are just resources and opportunities.”

One of the opportunities focused on the TRAIN ACT. Sewell defended her decision to vote for the bill because of the potential damages Alabama’s workers and businesses could suffer if it did not pass.

The TRAIN ACT, H.R. 2401, pits the environment against jobs for Americans. The proposed bill would stop the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) from strictly regulating carbon emissions and would continue the use of coal as one of our main energy supplies. The EPA mandates could affect the price of energy consumption and potentially affect the labor forces.

“The environment, while very important,I just think is a luxury when you’re taking about saving jobs in this kind of economy,” she said.

Sewell was one of 18 Democrats that voted with the Republicans to dismiss the TRAIN ACT. The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.

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Paparazzi Table at Terri Sewell’s luncheon

I do not follow politics one bit, and I don’t even vote. Gasp! That’s right. I’m a journalism major, and I do not exercise my first amendment. It does not interest me and frankly, I would rather stay away from the drama of it all. To me, every politician is exactly the same. They promise things that never get done, and issues that need solutions never have an easy answer. So why bother?

When this country was founded, men who ran for office were of different lifestyles and careers. A farmer, a rancher and a barber could all run for mayor. Now, politicians are strictly taught how to be politicians. Most of them are lawyers or businessmen, which make sense because both apply when it comes to running the country, but that has also limited the views and opinions of the people in office.

When I went on assignment to cover Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s luncheon, I had no idea who she was. Turns out she is an incredibly accomplished woman, but while I researched her background and career I could not help but dread the upcoming Tuesday. In our quest for a higher education, my peers and I met at the Indian Hills Country Club at noon.

The ten or so other aspiring journalists sat at the same table like paparazzi. Once glance in our direction and you could tell exactly why we were there (in fact, we received a great many stares). There was barely any room for our food because of all the cameras, notepads and equipment bags stacked on the table and around our chairs.

I hate being that person who annoys everyone around them because I have to move around and get various angles of video and pictures for the article. In short, I hate being an obnoxious journalist.

I would much rather be the cool journalist that never has to trip over people’s feet or get glared at because I almost hit them in the head with my tripod.

When I had my perfect spot picked out and actually relaxed, it was interesting to hear Sewell’s stories about President Obama and her job of watching over the 7th district. She seemed like a genuinely friendly and generous personality with an enthusiastic love of her job. So as far as politicians go, she made a noteworthy impression on me. In the future, she might be the only politician that I pay any attention to.

J-School Leads to Good News for Students

Is college worth it?

This monumental question must have been asked since the dawn of the institution. Years of sleepless nights in the library with stacks of textbooks and homework assignments that tower overhead, but society tells us that it is all for a purpose. We have to spend those four inglorious years as a slave to universities and professors just to earn the final piece of paper with a seal and a crest on it. That fateful diploma that signifies our achievement, and hangs in a frame on the wall. It used to mean a guaranteed job back in the day when students had to walk in the snow for miles uphill both ways just to get to class. Now a college education just means that we are part of a crowd fighting to use those four years of knowledge. Every journalism student wants that dream job after college, and we all feel like we earned it before quickly finding out that life doesn’t work that way.

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