Zoe's Journalism Portfolio

  Zoe Abrams


Junior, Graduating June 2012

I’ve enjoyed writing and watching the news for as long as I can remember and over time journalism has become my passion and what I want to pursue after college. I’ve gotten experience in journalism at a news station back in my hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii and I’ve also gotten some experience at a public relations company. I learned strong writing and speaking skills that will help me interview people in the future and I am also the fundraising chair for Santa Clara University’s Hawaii Club, which allows me to use those public speaking skills and pushes me to become a leader.
I studied abroad in France for a summer and in Florence, Italy for four months and living abroad really opened my eyes to how uninformed the United States is about other countries. I was shocked at how much Europeans knew about us and how little we knew about them. This made me determined to educate Americans about the culture and lives of people around the world and going into journalism will allow me to do that in the near future.
Contact: zabrams@scu.edu

Personal Works:


Facebook Affecting Job Opportunities

Facebook and Twitter, though socially beneficial are also becoming something to look out for especially when applying for jobs. -article written for communications class, March 2010 


Science and Health Article 

Redwood trees could potentially become endangered because of the change in fog. -article written for communications class, March 2010


Oppressed College Students 

Oppressed students who feel as if they have been treated unfairly because of their ethnic background work with Judette Tobes on issues of racism. -article written for communications class, February 2010

Journalism #1

Journalism #2

Works I Admire:


A new adoption process hopes to find homes for the foster children of Hawaii.

This magazine is one that I have always enjoyed reading back home and an article like this, written by my cousin really captures what Hawaii is all about.


Big waves and a high surf warning on Oahu’s north and west shores are keeping lifeguards on their toes.

I admire The Star Advertiser, the only newspaper printed on the island of Oahu because it is not only credible but is unique as well with articles like these.


People who are out of jobs may be in luck. Hawaii airport officials are looking to hire 200 of them.

After interning at the KITV4 news station is when I decided I wanted to be journalist. They are reliable and never fail to keep me informed.



Colleges and universities have taken a major hit during the recession, as state budgets have dried up and private school endowments have sunk (and risen, and sunk again) with the stock market. In response, many schools across the country took measures to curtail student enrollment and faculty hiring, reduce academic programs, and shelve major expansion projects. California's woes, in particular, were so grim that Governor Arnold Schwarz enegger was forced to slash school funding by an estimated $600 million to the state's 23-campus system to help balance a $20 billion budget shortfall. Yet the turmoil has not meant an all-out stop to campus building and planning activities. In fact, landscape architecture projects like fence or stockade fence here http://stockade-fence.com, although scaled back in many cases, are continuing, especially those involving master planning. "Budget cuts hit personnel, not forward planning, and planning is the cheapest part of our operations." notes David Salazar, associate vice president for physical planning and facilities management at California State University Long Beach (CSULB).

That kind of news is good for landscape architecture fins that are struggling to generate new business in the construction downturn. While austerity measures are forcing many institutions to shift more work to in-house landscape architecture departments and refrain from awarding big projects to outside firms, schools have not completely backed away from taking a long-term view when it comes to maintaining the beauty, efficiency, and sustainability of their campuses. So in a time of lowered expectations, both private and public institutions of higher learning are looking at planning and landscape architecture services in a new way. A survey of schools suggests that some smaller projects are going ahead and that opportunities exist to maintain relationships tilt might later lead to more substantial engagements when die economy recovers. Moreover, many schools realize that the appearance of their campus plays a critical rele in attracting students and faculty and research dollars, and that investing in sustainability now can be a modest outlay tiat eventually reaps long-term benefits—all without massive funding up front.

CSULB is a good example. The 322-acre campus, with around 35,000 students, had $45 million cut from its budget, including $826,000 from the department of physical planning and facilities management. As a result, staff was reduced or furloughed. But Salazar says die department went ahead with a $210,000 master plan project—looking at irrigation, parks cape, lighting, signage, pedestrian passes, roadways, accessibility, and sustainability—by SWA Group's Los Angeles office. Some of the upgrades will begin even before the master plan is finished. "We will be using existing resources to start implementing pieces of the plan even before it is done." Salazar explains, noting that the sustainable aspects of the project were a major selling point to the administration.

Even if budget numbers aren't known right now, he adds "the idea is to get the plan in place first and then go from there." California's large network of two-year community colleges has also been a continuing source of revenue for the region's landscape architects, one that is directly correlated with the recession. SWA, for example, has taken on projects for a half dozen schools in the Los Angeles area over the past three years, from Los Angeles Valley College to Riverside City College and College of the Desert. And with good reason, says Gerdo Aquino, ASLA, the president of SWA Group and managing principal of the LA. office: *We get involved because we care about this first rung of education, and because they do have funding Those are real dollars that are guaranteed by bond measures and need to be spent."

One of those projects was a master plan for Los Angeles Valley College's 82- acre site in the northeast section of the city that included many sustainability measures such as capturing graywa-ter and undertaking an urban forest study for the entire campus that was an add-on project first identified during the process of master planning. Community colleges are the future, Aquino believes, because with so many people unemployed, they offer a place to retrain and learn new skills. These schools, he says, "know what they have and what they need to spend money on to make their campus more accessible and a pleasant place to be." Mostly geared to commuter students, who come and park and then leave, the schools are seeking to give their campuses a new function and look, to make them places where students might stay longer.

Aquino, who is also an adjunct professor of Landscape architecture at the University of Southern California's stately campus, says the approach to these schools should be practical and focused. "I don’t go to city college meetings and say, let's turn this into USC," he recounts. "I say. Let’s see what you have. What are we talking about? What can we do? How big are your maintenance crews, and how can we train them?" While community colleges are still a relatively small part of SWA's L.A. office reven.ie, Aquino adds, projects have filtered in during the recession. "There is an opportunity to make a difference they, and to earn a dime or two,' he says.

In a similar way, (JR. a 130-person firm with three offices in the Midwest—in Chicago; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Madison, Wisconsin—is using its longstanding connections to colleges and universities in the region to keep revenue flowing. In particular, community colleges and their many satellite campuses have been a good source of work for the firm, which has been asked to improve facilities at a number of commuter colleges that are taking advantage of low construction costs to pursue improvements. "They want to have common areas designed like traditional college campuses so students will linger," says Deb Mitchell, FAS LA, a senior vice president at JJRs Chicago office. She adds that some of these schools "used to be like shopping centers." At the College of DuPage, a 273-acre school with 30,000 students in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, outside Chicago, JJR was handed a $600,000 project to renovate landscape plantings and courtyards, because the school wanted the campus to have a "unified look," Mitchell explains.

JJR is also working with Loyola University in Chicago on "bits and pieces" of its campus, which is being overhauled to provide a more attractive residential component as well as revenue-generating operations—including its chapel as a venue for weddings. This project involved creating a way to accommodate the turning radius of stretch limos. "Most campuses have the goal of getting cars off the campus, but here was the case of letting cars in for special occasions," Mitchell notes, which involved creating a plaza and redoing the access road.

In general, many schools have adopted a pragmatic approach to their landscape architecture planning, giving the go-ahead to projects that are feasible and make sense financially while keeping others 01 1 the back burner until additional funding is secured.

At the 700-acre campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, a $250,000 landscape master plan commissioned in 2008 with Sasaki Associates was completed in the spring of 2010 without a hitch. Several campus improvement projects came out of this effort and are currently in design, but several others—including a significant landscape improvement effort—were put 011 hold partially because of economic conditions. The university hopes to complete design work and contract documents and start construction for the other projects next year. "We don't have full budget allocation yet, so it's hard to say exactly when they might go ahead," says Mark Westa, ASLA, an associate professor of landscape architecture and a campus planner with the Office of University Planning.

Hie Boston-based firm Copley Wolff Group is working on one of the projects involving upgrades to three different quadrangle spaces to enhance their character and resolve delivery and access issues while addressing campus storm water concerns. At other schools, in-house teams are taking on more responsibility. When Michigan State University in East Lansing embarked on the recent $49 million Brody Building Renovation construction project, the university's landscape architects executed the planting plan as they normally do. For the upcoming renovations of the six residence halls, however, they will handle all site construction documents. "In better economic times, we usually use outside consultants for site planning on projects over $1 million,' notes Deb Kinney, a senior landscape architect at the school. »But on this one we won't use any because we had time, our docket of projects was slowing down, and it does save money." Yet the feet that landscape projects are cheaper than building and construction initiatives have allowed some firms to stay busy even if an overall project is in a holding pattern.

Since 2002, for example, discussions had been under way at Duke University regarding an ambitious long-range plan to unify the school's historic East and West campuses in Durham, North Carolina, but they were suspended in late 2008 at one of the critical moments of the economic downturn. However. Mark Hough, ASLA, the campus landscape architect, says the only group still working on the project and getting paid is Reed Hilderbrand, the Watertown, Massachusetts, landscape architecture firm hired to do the master plan. "We were moving into the design process when the bottom fell out of the market," Hough recalls. "We put the brakes on what would have been a several hundred million dollar project." Reed Hilder-brand was kept on to look at infrastructure and environmental impact: Hough adds, and is therefore in a good position to take on a larger role if and when the project—which he describes as "the future of Duke"—goes ahead.

Smaller, private schools like EI01 1 University, in Elon, North Carolina, with 5,500 students, have felt less of an impact from the downturn than state institutions, but are still watching their pennies. "We're working on tighter budgets and going less to outside firms," says Tom Elood, ASLA, assistant director of the physical plant and director of landscaping and grounds at the 600-acre campus. As a result, Elood says he's getting back to basics such as attractive landscape plantings and interesting gardens. He believes that one area of opportunity for landscape architecture firms is the increasing focus on sustainability and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)—for the design and planning of roof gardens, for example, and reclaimed water systems, as well as LEED certification calculations—which often cannot be done by his own staff." he campus should be a garden," Elood says. "That's where universities are going, because we are 11 1 direct competition, visually, with each other."

Syndicate content