Category Archives: Writing

Welcoming Non-European Pope

Published: 14 March 2013 By Claudia Balthazar

For the first time in 1,000 years, a non-European leader has been chosen to head the church. On Wednesday March 13, 2013, Cardinal from Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, emerged as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, the first time a South American broke the glass ceiling.

Continue reading

Online Flirting: Is it Cheating?


By Claudia Balthazar

There’s a fine line between cheating and flirting. Boundaries between the two vary from couple to couple. There are always discussions about what’s considered cheating and what’s not. However, in today’s day and age, there’s one particular issue that falls in a gray area; online flirting.

Eighty-two percent of women believe online flirting is a form of cheating, according to the State of Dating Report, a study conducted by JDate and Christian Mingle; two online dating sites. Only 56 percent of men agreed it was considered cheating.

“It’s very hard to draw conclusions with regard to cheating,” Rachel Sussman, a New York-based marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical social worker said. “What is important to remember when looking at this stat [about women’s and men’s different definitions of cheating] is that the difference of opinion about this topic can create problems for relationships.”

Sussman partnered with JDate and Christian Mingle to analyze their findings. About 2,700 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 and 60 were surveyed.

One of the major reasons flirting could be considered cheating is many people believe it could lead to physical contact. Another finding the State of Dating study found was all women believed passionately kissing is considered unfaithful, compared to only 86 percent of men.

“Communication and talking it through before it becomes an issue is important to build trust and make sure both people in a relationship are on the same page,” Sussman said. Open communication is key for couples, she says, particularly on sensitive subjects like cheating. “When people start dating, there should be a talk regarding what the boundaries and lines are with cheating or similar topics. The more issues you can sort out early on, the less likely a problem will happen, particularly a relationship-ending issue.”

So the next time you’re confused about the difference between flirting and cheating, talk it over with your significant other, and they’ll let you know.

Published in Amour Creole Magazine, A magazine dedicated to French-speaking Caribbean readers living abroad, specifically Haitians.


Hofstra Hillel continues tradition of Birthright trip to Israel

By Claudia Balthazar
Staff Writer

Hofstra University students had the opportunity to go on a 10-day trip to Israel through the Taglit-Birthright Israel: Hillel Trip from 6 Jan. 2013 to 17 Jan. 2013.

“It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life,” said Lindsay Sher, sophomore at Hofstra who was one of the 21 Hofstra students who attended the trip in January — right around the time of the Israeli elections.

The Birthright Israel trip is offered through different organizations for students who apply to the program with the belief that it is their birth right, as a Jew, to visit Israel and learn about its history.

Continue reading

Digital Trends Event Coverage: NYWICI Digital Trends Capital

By Claudia Balthazar
Last week, New York Women In Communications held their Digital Trends Capital event on February 19th as part of New York City’s first round of Social Media Week. During this event, panelists from all over the digital world expressed their ideas about the digital age and its impact on the Communications field.
Jennifer Preston, The New York Times journalist discussed her transition into the digital age. “It changed everything for me being that I was mainly in print.” This transition is what many reporters had to face when technology took over the world.
Through it all, this new transition has helped many people in the Communications field with the introduction to social media. “For everyone who is reinventing themselves, social media is wonderful,” Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, co-founder and partner of Digital Brand and Architects said. As Tammy Tibbets, founder and president of She’s the First puts it, “Media is the fuel to the engine of entrepreneurship.”
To many, social media makes the world a smaller place and allows people to develop things faster than ever before. “Through technology, you can create things quickly and at very little cost,” Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52 said, “Once I saw that, I never looked back.” And she spent eleven years at The New York Times. This shows how everyone could adapt to this digital age, and should.
The digital age will only progress. Keynote speaker, Rachel Haot, chief digital officer of the City of New York told to us about one of the city’s plans to incorporate coding into the high school education system.
Not everyone will be comfortable with social media at first, especially those who are transitioning into it. But there are programs like this that help people understand the importance of it and that show ways they can incorporate it into their everyday life.
“It’s nice to know that not everyone knows that much about social media and it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you keep going on,” said Ritza Yana, senior communications consultant for RYink. “And I think more and more people are willing to get involved,” added Deanna Utroske, content producer for Digital Book World.
Social Media Week will start back up again September from the 23rd to the 27th. For more information go to

Published in the New York Women in Communications Inc. Student Blog, NYWICI Next

Alpha Kappa Psi Honors Women in Business

L to R, Yeni Castro, Ashley Kowal, Brian St. Hubert, Christina Whitehurst, Dr. Elizabeth Venuti Photo credit: Claudia Balthazar

L to R, Yeni Castro, Ashley Kowal, Brian St. Hubert, Christina Whitehurst, Dr. Elizabeth Venuti Photo credit: Claudia Balthazar

Women all over the world are breaking through various barriers to work in the corporate world of America. Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity, held the panel “women in business”, on Feb. 6, 2013 at Hofstra University, to inform the audience about a woman’s experience in the corporate world of business. During the panel, women discussed how females could play positive roles in their positions.

Continue reading

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty of PR

The Presenters: Jenelle Hamilton, Jonathon Woods, Cheryl Overton [Photo Credit: Gerald Peart]

The Presenters: Jenelle Hamilton, Jonathon Woods, Cheryl Overton [Photo Credit: Gerald Peart]

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, individuals throughout New York City gathered for the Black Public Relations Society-New York (BPRSNY) PR Bootcamp “Getting Down with the Nitty-Gritty of PR”. Guest speakers included: Jonathon Woods, Senior Account Executive of Edelman; Cheryl Overton, Senior Communications Strategist of Cheryl Overton Communications; and Jenelle Hamilton, International PR Consultant.

They all spoke about different strategies and techniques to get ahead of the game in PR and what it really takes to master your craft.Cheryl outlined ten simple rules to “mastering public relations”. The communications firm owner advised audience members to “be a problem solver”, “always operate ethically”, and “draw inspiration from outside of the PR industry.”

Photo Credit: Gerald Peart

Photo Credit: Gerald Peart


Jonathon “got down to the nitty-gritty” of the fundamentals of crafting a strategic message, the perfect media campaign, and press release. He said that strategic messaging should be your foundation. PR practitioners can get so caught up in the ‘sexy’ headline that they forget the most important part – the mission. He stated, “organizations always have a central mission so you should always ladder up to their core mission; always ladder up to the client’s objective.”

Photo Credit: Darius Bradley

Photo Credit: Darius Bradley

Jonathan went on to describe the key components in developing a media campaign: develop objectives; identify key stakeholder targets; outline story angles and key messages; develop PR tactics; conduct outreach and launch the media campaign; follow-up; and of course evaluate the success of the campaign once its completed. He then dived into constructing the press release and he noted to keep it “simple and short”. People with lives won’t have the time to read six-page press releases filled with jargon – one page will do.

The last presenter of the evening was London native and International PR consultant, Jenelle Hamilton. Jenelle discussed becoming your own personal brand. She stressed that, “you have to find your niche, find what makes you different. You should want to be an individual and live outside of the box.” Jenelle closed the evening with the most important tip of all: be yourself, know who you are, and promote yourself as you would promote your clients.

Photo Credit: Keisha McCotry

Photo Credit: Keisha McCotry

If anyone came into the event confused on how to get ahead of the game, they definitely know now.

Published on the Black Pubic Relations Society – NY website



A Moment of Silence for the Sandy Hook Victims and Hope for Gun Control

Photo of Mayor of the Village of Hempstead taken by Elaine Rezende.

Photo of Mayor of the Village of Hempstead taken by Elaine Rezende.

The nation is weeping over the Sandy Hook massacre that left 20 children dead in Newtown Connecticut on Friday; a cry for more gun control.

“It’s important that we have gun control because anyone can buy a gun right now,” said Mayor of the Village of Hempstead, Wayne Hall Senior and a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, at a candle light vigil held at Hofstra University on Dec. 17. 2012. “There’s only a certain amount of mayors and some of them don’t believe in gun control. We need the voters to stand up and say enough is enough.”

The Xi Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. along with Hofstra’s Black Student Union and the Nu Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. brought the Hofstra community together for a moment of silence, a prayer and an exchange of thoughts for the people who lost their lives at Sandy Hook.

“This was something that struck us as very important to speak up about,” said Amanda Medina, Vice President of the Nu Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho.

Jessica Downing-Brown, President of the Sorority exclaimed, “This is not enough. We should step up more.”

After the vigil was over, Vice President of the Xi Psi chapter of Alpha phi Alpha, Deion Toppin said, “It upsets me when it takes something like this to bring people together. Gun violence has always been a problem.”

Mayor Wayne Hall Senior said, “We’ve seen our share of gun violence in Hempstead. In all the minority communities we have gun violence.” He added, “It can happen anywhere as you can see on Friday.

After the vigil, the division of student affairs at Hofstra University also held a prayer and an additional vigil for the Hofstra student body.

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was said to have a history of mental health illnesses. On Friday, he killed his mother, children and adults, and then committed suicide.

On Sunday evening, President Obama spoke at the Sandy Hook vigil,  “calling for an end to the epidemic of gun violence in America,” according to an article in the Huffington Post.

The nation is stricken by this tragedy.

-Claudia Balthazar

Published in Black Ink, the official newsletter for the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists.

Political Figures and Experts Discuss Poverty in America at Brookings

The New Year is right around the corner, and while most people are probably worrying about their New Year’s Resolutions, there are still concerns about the fiscal cliff.

Depending on the President’s and Congress’ decision, America’s economy may have to face reduced spending for safety net programs and tax increases on higher income families to address the nation’s deficit. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, held an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. to discuss what’s in store for the next four years.

Continue reading

Nassau Court Kiwanis Honors Own with Breast Cancer Fundraiser

Sixth annual fundraiser for Kathy Donegan held at Cornerstone Pub in Mineola.

By Claudia Balthazar, Hofstra

October 24, 2011

Members of the Nassau County Courthouse Kiwanis filled the Cornerstone Pub in Mineola last week for the sixth annual Kathy DoneganBreast Cancer fundraiser.

 The fundraiser is always held to honor Donegan, a prominent member of the NCCK who passed away in 2005.

“The idea to have a fundraiser at the Cornerstone Pub was Kathy’s idea,” NCCK vice President Patricia Harrington said. “She was a volunteer there [at the Adelphi Breast CancerHotline] and they were very helpful to her so she wanted to give back.”

Law clerks and attorneys from the Mineola courthouses were invited to serve as guest bartenders being given a crash course on basic duties. Tips received by the guest bartenders were contributed towards the fundraiser.

“I knew Kathy for many years. She was a dear friend of mine and I believe everyone who (volunteers) will do it in her honor,” Miriam Lemus of the Nassau County Court, who also was a guest bartender, said.

Numerous raffle drawings were also held with prizes including $400 in cash. All of the proceeds went to the Adelphi University Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program.

“Some years it’s not as well (attended) but I’m very happy with the way it turned out today,” Harrington said.

Published in the Mineola Patch


Vigil for Trayvon Martin Unites Students of Different Ethnicities

Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond shares a message of equality before vigil.

By Claudia Balthazar and Chelsea Royal

Staff Writer and Assistant News Editor

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Updated: Monday, April 2, 2012

Julian BondPhoto by Claudia BalthazarFormer NAACP Chairman Julian Bond speaks to students about racial equality in America.

VigilPhoto by Harrison KnowlesStudents held a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin on March 29.

Around Hofstra Hall, a typically quiet place at night, small lightsshined as students gathered to remember Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old old from Florida whose death, possibly derived from racial profiling, has gained media exposure. Sponsored by three campus organizations, the Black Student Union, the Pride Network and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the vigil was not only for students to pay their respects to Martin, but to come together for common concern. According to this promotion for the event, the vigil was also a way for students to acknowledge the effects of profiling.

Hundreds of Hofstra students from different racial backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations came out to light a candle for Martin.

“I liked the unity in this,”said Justin Barker, public relations chair of the Black Student Union. “Everyone came out for something positive although they came together because something negative occurred.”

Posters with Martin’s face and the words “He was shot dead because he was black” were placed around campus a week prior to the event. One poster was removed due to vandalism. Damahl Brathwaite, vice president of BSU, reported the defaced poster toPublic Safety. He understands that people may not agree with the message the organization is bringing.

“We’re not trying to play any victim, were just trying to get justice and equality,”said Brathwaite.

Nicolas Fils-Aime, a member of Hofstra’s NAACP chapter wants to spread this awareness of justice and equality on Hofstra’s campus, but also to people off the campus. He says the poster incident is not going to stop them from reaching their goal, and that the vigil for Martin has changed some students’ views on diversity for the better.

“Everyone came in with one perspective but left with a different one,” said Fils-Aime.

Before the vigil, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond talked about the slow progression of American perspectives from the Civil Rights movement to Obama’s election to a packed audience with some students leaning on the walls to listen in.

Among many words of inspiration Bond spoke of his experiences in the past and how many things have changed. He mentioned at one point that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be happy to see that the President of the United States is biracial, but would be dismayed to see that his movement has slowed.

“People deserve rights, not because they’re black or gay, but because they’re people,” said Bond. “They’re American and we all have those rights.”

Bond’s message on equality inspired students in attendance like Jose Rivera, a board member of the Pride Network.

“I like that he supports equal rights for everyone,”said Rivera. “When he said ‘if someone doesn’t have the same rights that I have, then I would fight for them’that really put the movement [for equal rights] in perspective for me.”

Hempstead resident and SUNY New Paltz Graduate, class of ’78, Ronald McManus recalled the time when Bond came to speak at his graduation. He agrees that equality in America remains a slow process.

“Now there’s progress that has been made [ever since I first heard Bond speak]. However, the challenge of overcoming inequality remains,” he said.

-Claudia Balthazar

Published in the Hofstra Chronicle, Weekly newspaper of Hofstra University. Print.