Composer creates bridge between the classical world and the modern world of music

Steve Hackman, Creative Director of FUSE at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, patches the gap between audiences of classical and modern music at Heinz Hall. Hackman mixes different music forms to represent who he is as an artist . He is not just any other composer or artist. Hackman is carving a path in classical music as he blends it with popular genres.

“Aaron Copland V. Bon Iver” showcased with special guest and local Pittsburgh band, Beauty Slap, on Wednesday, January 28. With three vocalists, Hackman graced the crowd with a blend of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” with Bon Iver songs.

The reason for this unique mixture of genres is to introduce audiences that only attend the symphony to Bon Iver and Bon Iver fans to Aaron Copland.

“To apply contemporary musical techniques from the popular world (mashing up, remixing) to the classical world and thus create a bridge between the two,” said Hackman.

“I want to share beautiful music and I want to share my journey,” said Hackman when describing his main message through his work. There are people who go against the grain by doing what they want to do, and these are the people that he plays for.

“It is possible that classical music has not evolved enough in the past century, or perhaps has evolved along a track that the majority of the public was unwilling to follow it down.”

Photo Credits: Wade Massie

Photo Credits: Wade Massie

Hackman explains how classical music has become distant from contemporary and popular society. “Man has sought the means to express himself creatively as long as he has been on Earth.”

Art is crucial in society and classical music has never lost relevance in his eyes.

Audience member, Zach Dowdell, enjoyed the concert.

“I thought is was an excellent fuse of two styles,” he said.

Another audience member Emily Pickell commented not only about the music but the composer’s looks.

“I cried five times and it was very easy to get into. I won’t lie I came because the composer was so good looking,” she said.

This is not the first time Hackman has composed a mix of genres. He has a history of mixing classical with pop music. From 2009 through 2013, he composed and conducted a concert series, “Happy Hour” with the Indianapolis Symphony strongly showcasing his style of mixing two genres. Hackman also created “Brahms V. Radiohead” in 2013 and “Beethoven V. Coldplay” in 2014.

The next FUSE project Hackman is presenting is March 9th at Heinz Hall. This show is different from “Copland V. Bon Iver.” “As it does not draw upon an existing pop artist and is instead my original songs mixed with Stravinsky,” said Hackman. This show will feature a singer, rapper, drummer, electronics, female choir and orchestra.

20 Shades of White

Another year, another Oscars Ceremony, and the usual Twitter excitement over nominations progresses. Leonardo DiCaprio secured another nomination, four forgettable movies secured their actors five of the twenty nominations, and everyone is white.

Apparently forgetting that they did this last year and the resultant outrage it generated on the internet, the Oscar Nomination Committee nominated twenty actors and actresses, all of whom are whiter than white paint.  Given that 94 percent of the Academy’s 6,000-plus strong voting committee is white, it should come as little surprise that no non-white actor was nominated for any of the four acting categories this year.

As pointed out in the Economist after the nominations were announced, the probability of back-to-back whiteouts in the Oscar nominations, over a fifteen-year span, is close to one in 100,000 — less than one percent.  Given those odds, it seems highly unlikely that the selections for this year’s nominations were random or based solely on the talent of the actors nominated.  (And given that four of the movies underperformed in profit/budget comparisons, talent and movie enjoyability were not factors in the nomination process.)

Had the nominations been based on the make-up of the Screen Actor’s Guild, more nominations would have been non-white actors.  (Although the number of nominations would still have been astronomically low in comparison.)

In response, numerous black actors have announced that they will be boycotting the Oscars, including Lupita Nyong’o (winner of Best Supporting Actress, 2014, for her role in “12 Years A Slave), Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Spike Lee, Tyrese Gibson, and Snoop Dogg.  Mark Ruffalo (Best Supporting Actor nominee, 2015, for “Spotlight”), has stated that, while he is not boycotting the Oscars as originally stated on his twitter feed, he supports the boycott and the actors participating in the boycott.

Other responses to the whiteout at the Oscars include the revival of last year’s hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite.  The response on Twitter to the nominee whiteout is largely negative, with a few amusing tweets gaining traction, including a comparison of the 20 white-only nominations to different shades of white paint (with little visible difference between the swatches).

On the other side of the coin are responses from white actors, including a memorable and unfortunately real comment from Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling; “It is racist to whites” (referring to the Oscar boycott).  Despite the fact that every single nominee in the actors category for the past two years is white, and that the majority of Oscar winners (and nominees) over the past five years have been white (only three of the 24 Oscars have gone to non-white actors in that time-span), she seems to believe that the boycott due to no POC actors being nominated in any of the categories is racist against white people.

Thankfully, there are two shining spots in this round of Oscar frenzy:  Chris Rock will be hosting the Oscars, and the Oscar nomination committee has already released a statement saying that the rules regarding nominations have been changed to include more diversity in future awards as a result of the overwhelmingly negative backlash.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Whining and dining

It was only sometime ago that a girlfriend and I ended up at the Ace Hotel for what we thought was going to be a regular girls’ night out with a couple of cocktails and the normal chatter about the tortures of tutorial here at Chatham, the joys and woes of relationships, and everything in between.

The building used to be the YMCA in East Liberty but has been renovated into a hotel with a popular bar and restaurant inside of it. The building itself is impressive with extremely high ceilings and dramatically white walls. The drinks here are super fancy, small, and expensive, but those are all sure signs that whatever you are drinking will be delicious, which they were.

So, as my friend and I sat in the lounge area of the bar, a few gentlemen approached us who seemed to know everyone in the entire building and had an obvious influence on the staff waiting on them. We soon came to learn that they were restaurateurs in the local area and had just gotten off work. They soon took it upon themselves to entertain us for the rest of the night with more fancy drinks and ridiculous stories about life in the industry.

I was so excited to be talking to people in the restaurant scene here in Pittsburgh because, obviously, that’s kind of my “thing.” I tried mentioning my own experience with writing and making videos about chefs, restaurants, and food in the area in a futile attempt to make a lasting impression on these professionals.

The scoop was deep — I learned all about new restaurants opening up, which restaurants had new menus, and all kinds of silly gossip on the local chefs. As the night began wrapping up, they insisted we come to one of their restaurants the next weekend so we could try all of the new plates on the menu and join them in some more conversation. I became so caught up listening to the inside scoop on all of the hottest restaurants in Pittsburgh and being impressed by the promises of delicious food that I didn’t even realize what was really happening…

There it was. They wined and dined me, and I insist it wasn’t consensual because I was really under the blind impression that I was networking. We were saying our goodbyes and I realized that neither of them remembered my name or even what my skills were. Should I have had a card on hand to give to them? Would it have made a difference? Probably not.

Although being wined and dined can be a pleasant experience in the right situation, it can also feel degrading and kind of weird. I love eating and drinking and being with good company, but never do I want to be a prop placed at the side of an industry person or placed in a restaurant as a tool of persuasion. I want to be at the same table as these guys literally and figuratively, in the sense that I want to be around these important people in the industry no matter what, but I also want to be respected and seen as a professional.

That’s hard, though. Being 22 and a woman doesn’t always invite the most useful attention which can be discouraging, but I also recognize there is a really nice feeling that comes out of being blown off as some young girl and then proving later that I do have skills.

Moral of the story? If they can’t help you, then you can’t help them. There would never be any follow up wining and dining in the near future between the five of us. Instead, my friend and I would go out and eat a bunch of queso cheese dip, go dancing, and finish the night off with a good sisterhood snuggle in bed while we chatted about spanking patriarchy, creating art people love (or don’t love), and fantasizing about how ridiculous and funny it would be if the tables turned and we were the ones wining and dining them.

Off the Beaten Page: Eric Lindstrom makes his debut with “Not If I See You First”

The thing that sets Parker apart from the traditional, one-dimensional female leads in young adult literature is that she is so obviously human. Lindstrom does not stray from showing off her faults and insecurities to progress the story. He makes her vulnerable and understandable to readers, especially to otherwise-abled individuals. While Parker’s being blind is a major plot element, it is not the entirety of the story. So many novels rely on a character’s disease or disability or flaw as a way to stimulate the story. These tropes need to stop. Parker is an honest character and is showing young girls that being different is okay.

Additionally, while there is a romantic element in Parker’s ex-boyfriend, Scott Kilpatrick, the romance is not the focus of the story as it is in most teen literature. The emergence of the strong-minded young heroine in novels is powerful, and it is very important to acknowledge that it is not the be-all, end-all if the main character does not develop a romantic relationship at the close of the piece. “Not If I See You First” provides a very powerful message for young girls that the first person you must always rely on is yourself.

Lindstrom is currently working on a new untitled piece, and all he has revealed about it is that it will also be young adult fiction. If his first novel is any indicator of how the next one will turn out, it’s going to be a good one.

The winter months always have me desiring fluffy fiction, so I often times veer towards the young adult novel. Nothing is more comforting than a light book to keep your interest on a cold day; but I have grown tired of reading the same pieces over and over again. I took to the internet and found what I was searching for in Lindstrom’s “Not If I See You First.”

This is Lindstrom’s freshman novel, and quite different from his previous work — he was a co-writer for the “Tomb Raider” video game series. Steering away from his traditional work of shock and horror, Lindstrom manages to tug at the heartstrings of his readers with his debut piece, which was just released this past December.

The novel’s main character, Parker, is like any teenage girl, except for the fact that she is blind. In her disability, she has created a list of items she calls “The Rules” so people do not use her or mistreat her just because she is different. She deals with heartache all the same, discussing boy issues with her friends, struggling to come to terms with her father’s death, and taking in the hardship that comes with trying out for the school track team. All of these small facets of her character make a very believable, well-rounded heroine.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Awards show season

It’s awards season and I know many people who like to have viewing parties to watch the Grammys and the Oscars. If any of you follow Foodie on the Half Shell, you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is terrible party snacks. Just don’t even have a party if you aren’t going to have good food, because what is even the point?

I love the idea of classy, fun award show parties where people dress up and drink champagne or whatever they want to drink out of champagne flutes. Even better, the parties where you dress up as your favorite character from one of the nominated movies. I think I would personally pick Leonardo Dicaprio’s character from “The Revenant.” I could just not shower for a few weeks and not use any Chap Stick.

Anyway, here are some recipes to make sure your award show party isn’t a complete failure because all you did was put out a bag of potato chips and some PBR.

Apple Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms:

There’s nothing cuter than a piece of food that you can eat in one bite. Get a package of baby bella mushrooms, some sausage (I like spicy Italian), ½ of an apple, ½ of a white onion, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Heat the onion, garlic, and apple in a saute pan until they are caramelized. Transfer to a bowl and mix the uncooked sausage in. Pop out the stem from the mushroom and stuff with the sausage mixture.

Cook in an oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Caramel and Pecan Brie:

Cheese and crackers are a must at any party, but you can really step it up a notch from the usual cheddar and swiss, to a pretty wheel of brie.

You will need a wheel of brie, caramel sauce, and chopped up pecans. Heat the brie in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Heat the caramel over the stove until it is easy to drizzle. Take the brie out and cover the top of the brie with the caramel and sprinkle the pecans on top.

Serve with crackers and slices of apples.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus:

This will be the hit of your party. All you need to do is wash and trim your asparagus and wrap them in bacon. If the asparagus is thick, use only a couple, but if you asparagus is very thin use more. Drizzle them in olive oil and add some salt and pepper.

Heat them in an oven at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crispy.

Champagne Cocktails:

You always see all of the stars with their full glasses of champagne during the awards ceremony, so join them. But add some juices to make it more fun!

Buy some cheap champagne and get creative with the juices you mix with it. Some personal favorites are passion fruit juice, orange juice and peach schnapps, and pomegranate.

Cougars basketball gets back on track

Chatham’s women’s basketball team has been on a roll as of late, winning two of their last three games.

Their most recent win came against Geneva College. The Cougars were down big at halftime, but strong plays from their guards and post players helped secure a victory. Senior Rachel McClain and freshman Katie Sieg were the high scorers with 14 points each.

The Cougars have two more games in the regular season. If they continue to ride this wave of confident playing, they will wind up in a good position for playoffs.

After a hard fought road win against Bethany, the Cougars played at home against Grove City on Wednesday. They fought neck and neck with them the whole game. The Cougars wound up losing off a buzzer beater by Grove City.

They bounced back with another road win against Geneva this past Saturday.

“ I honestly think we just believed in ourselves,” said senior Chelsea Kovalcsik. “We’ve beaten Geneva before and we’ve worked too hard to let it slip through our fingertips.”

“Grove City was a tough loss, no doubt, but we’ve never with them for the whole game and so although we felt awful, it was a confidence booster knowing what exactly we are capable of,” she continued. “That, and we really want it. Every day, every practice, and every game we want to win.”

The Cougars had to claw their way back against Grove City and Geneva. This resiliency and leadership from their three seniors could be key in their final two games of the regular season.

“Focus and intensity will be key for us as playoffs approach,” senior Anna Shashura said. “We have good team chemistry on and off the court, which has helped us play more together these last few games.”

With the season coming to an end, the Cougars have a chance to get hot going into playoffs. They have the opportunity to make a lot of noise in the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC). Their hard work and determination has to be at a high level this final stretch going into playoffs.

The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases comes to Chatham

The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) is a non-profit, volunteer based organization of professional investigators whose sole mission is to, “actively assist law enforcement, criminal justice and legal professionals in the development of cold case investigations.” They have an elite group of experts that use tools such as crime scene reconstruction, crime scene assessments, and inductive/deductive criminal profiling to solve these crimes. Recently, it has popped up at Chatham.

Dr. Christine Sarteschi, assistant professor of social work and criminology at Chatham, serves as the faculty advisor for the Chatham chapter of AISOCC. She is also a Consulting Committee member of The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases itself.

Before assembling the group, Sarteschi initially surveyed students to determine their interest in developing a chapter on campus. The interested students then developed a constitution and applied to become an official student organization. After being assigned their first case, Sarteschi then contacted the sergeant working on the case, who was happy for the help. The group currently has 19 students and interested students can apply at two points in the academic year — at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

Hannah Gross, the chapter president at Chatham, said the AISOCC is important because, “there are approximately 211,000 unsolved homicide cases in the United States. Many police departments might not have dedicated cold case units or units large enough to cover the immense volume of cold case materials that are still waiting to be reviewed. We wish to assist police agencies and families with solving these cases.”

She says that it is beneficial for outsider’s to help because they, “assist police agencies in reviewing case files, essentially serving as a ‘fresh set of eyes’ hoping to uncover anything that may have been overlooked. We search for new leads, discuss any interesting details, develop a social media presence to bring awareness to the case and otherwise do whatever the case requires of us. We can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

Currently, the Chatham chapter are working on the unsolved murder case of 18-year old Wendy Welborn who was killed in 1980 in Tennessee. Wendy’s mother contacted the president of AISOCC asking for assistance in solving her case and the president assigned the case to the group at Chatham, who have been working on it since October of 2015.

Students are encouraged to join the group next fall, and help the team make an impact on the lives of many. Gross says it is a powerful opportunity, “to gain experience in solving a real unsolved case. It is a great way to develop one’s writing and analytical skills. The work is tedious but rewarding. Your efforts might actually lead to solving an unsolved homicide case. You have a chance to truly make a difference in someone’s life. We welcome new members, but they must be serious about the work. We are dealing with real people and real cases. There are many leadership roles within the group as well. Students have the opportunity to specialize on a certain portion of the case and lead others in exploring specific categories. This organization also gets students directly involved with the workings of the criminal justice system. For some, this could open potential doors to future jobs or interests.”

To contact the organization, students can email Dr. Sarteschi at, or Hannah Gross at

Valentine’s Day sex workshop: educating students on safe sex

Sex. According to network television and cheesy after school specials: everybody’s doing it. There may be some debate and some truth about that. The CDC has estimated that individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 make up over one quarter of sexually active people. However, the 15 to 24-year-old sexually active crowd also makes up for half of the reported sexually transmitted diseases.  So the question is, does everyone who may become sexually active know how to do it safely?

With only twenty-two states that require sex education to be taught in schools, the answer depends on where you live and what your parents believe in. For this reason, many universities and colleges have taken it upon themselves to incorporate information on sexual health into their orientation.

What’s Chatham’s approach?

At Chatham University you can get a lot of things from Student Health Services: bandages, a flu shot, and even resources for sexual health. They go further than simply passing out pamphlets and condoms. For the past few semesters, in an attempt to dispel the myths and get people talking, Student Health Services has been hosting workshops to educate students on sexual health. In the Valentine’s Day season, Health Services intern Renee Pacella ventured to the Carriage House with pamphlets, prizes, and sexual health jeopardy.

“It’s supposed to be an interactive and unintimidating conversation about sexual health, awareness, consent, and being aware of what’s available to you,” said Pacella. “So at health services we actually aren’t allowed to treat anything.” They are however allowed to offer over the counter medicines.

What are frequently asked questions?

“We get a lot of questions about birth control. People just don’t know what’s out there and how to get it, so we just provide what we can as far as information and resources,” she said.


“I feel like nowadays there is more in regards to conversations about sexual health and more sex education. But, if someone’s coming from a more sheltered home or a more religious background where they’re not allowed to talk about it and then they step into an environment where they have all this freedom, then they don’t really know what to do to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Or prevent spreading diseases.”

Health Services provides referrals, consultations, and answers to those questions.

“We want to pass on knowledge to students whether they received it in high school or not,” she explained.

To this end, Student Health Services took a somewhat unconventional approach to educating students at the Valentine’s Day sex workshop, opting to play Sexual Health Jeopardy.

“The jeopardy game primarily serves as a means to open the discussion and get more students involved and talking,” Pacella said.

“No one wants to talk about sex with someone in their sixties,” Pacella said with a laugh, “So we try to get the students talking with each other. We just present the facts like, if you do this you’re gonna get pregnant. Or if you don’t do this, you’ll end up with an STD. We’re just promoting safety and knowing who to talk to.”

Acknowledging that there are people who object to sex education because they feel it encourages young people to become sexually active, Pacella responded, “When people do that, it’s never going to prevent people from having sex. You’re not going to be there when two consenting adults, hopefully over the age of eighteen, are having sex. It’s just not gonna happen. You can say as much as you want or preach as much as you want; that’s their decision. If you don’t teach kids what’s going on, they’re just going to do harm to their bodies and make preventable mistakes.”

Student Health Services is located outside of Woodland Hall next to the bookstore.

Chatham MSA works to educate students on Islam

Even for Chatham students, most of whom have progressive views and accept other people’s beliefs and ideologies, it is difficult to combat the prejudices evidently present outside the Chatham bubble.

On Wednesday, February 10, 2015 three Muslims, aged 19, 21, and 23, were gunned down in their neighborhood near UNC Chapel Hill by their neighbor. Police stated that the shooting was over a parking spot dispute while many within the Muslim community, including the victims’ fathers are calling the incident a hate crime.

The sister of one of the victims spoke to “The New Yorker” after the shooting stating, “It’s time people started talking about how real Islamophobia is — that it’s not just a word tossed around for political purposes but that it has literally knocked on our doorstep and killed three of our American children.”

Even though we may think that we left our racist ideals in the 1960s, prejudices are still pervasive in our society. Tragic events such as the Chapel Hill shooting, or the police brutality that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement can happen to anyone, anywhere. To combat this, one Chatham student organization is working to educate the Chatham community on Islamic beliefs and practices.

The Chatham Muslim Student Association, also known as the Chatham MSA, has put on several educational events about Islam. MSA is lead by junior Biology major, Maryem Aslam. Aslam took over MSA after seeing new leadership was needed to drive the organization forward. Aslam’s goal for the organization is to expand its reach to the Chatham Community.

“I want to let students know that this is not a club exclusively for Muslim students. The MSA exists to educate people on Islamic religion, current issues, and just as a resource to ask questions,” Aslam said.

Education has been a main pillar in MSA’s mission this year. MSA participated in Mocktails for the first time. Aslam saw the campus tradition as an avenue to enlighten students along with faculty and staff on why Muslims do not drink alcohol.

“Although we were at an event that was alcohol-free, the symbolism was that Muslims do not drink alcohol,” said Aslam.

MSA also hosted their Annual Eid Dinner. The dinner celebrates the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, also known as the breaking the fast feast. The holiday marks the end of Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fasting)  and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide. In partnership with Parkhurst dining services, MSA provided a traditional Eid feast for Chatham Students and other local college Muslim student associations.

“The dinner had a nice turnout. We had some trouble with the timing so the event was around mid-terms but I have some high hopes for next year,” said Aslam.

On February 1, the MSA participated in World Hijab Day in partnership with Girl Up.  On this day, MSA sponsored a lesson on how to wrap a hijab. Non-Muslim students were welcomed to wear a hijab for a few minutes, a few hours, or even a whole day. Later that evening a discussion was held about why some Muslim women wear the hijab, and its significance.

Students of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to join Chatham MSA.  Like the MSA Facebook page to get up to date information for all things Chatham MSA.

Getting Rid of Loose Ends for a Cause

Chatham’s Relay for Life is coming up quickly; and with a goal of $25,000, Chatham community members are coming together to raise funds. From student organizations to academic departments, RFL teams are being created left and right to help fight cancer one dollar at a time through the American Cancer Society.

One special group was formed this year by sophomores Kaitlyn Shirey and Krista Arena and junior Fia Nicoloso. Cleverly named “Loose Ends,” these three ladies have made a Relay team focused on cutting their hair for charity. They are using their locks as an incentive to receive more donations. The more people donate, the more they will cut.

What are you doing and what is your goal?

“[We’re] collecting donations for the American Cancer Society to get research and to help the families of those suffering,” said Arena, who is cutting more hair with the more donations she receives. Shirey on the other hand, is planning on going all the way.

“My goal is to raise as much money as possible for Relay for Life and to donate all of my hair,” said Shirey. “When I say all of my hair, I mean that I want to actually shave my head bald. Let no hair go uncut!” Shirey plans to sell the opportunity to take the scissors to her hair at Relay for Life. Anyone willing to donate will be able to cut her hair.

“As a bonus to monetary donations, our team is going to donate our hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths,” said Nicoloso. “It’s an organization that gives wigs to cancer patients who have lost their hair.”

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a program that asks for eight inches of hair or an $8.00 donation that goes towards making free, real-hair wigs. Over 800,000 ponytails have been donated to them, making over 42, 000 wigs.

“I like that [Pantene Beautiful Lengths] uses all the hair that they possibly can to make free wigs for cancer patients,” said Shirey. “It turns out that there are a lot of ways to donate your hair, and Pantene is the best fit for me. I don’t want to throw rocks, but Locks of Love sells their wigs on a need basis. It is often the case that a person could make a bigger impact for cancer patients by selling their own hair on the Internet and donating the money to research than by donating hair to [Locks of Love].  Additionally, some organizations will take hair donations to clean the environment.”

Though Pantene asks for eight inches minimum for hair, they will still take your hair to use for other resources, some that help with environmental issues.

“Every time you get a trim you could send that hair to clean up oil spills,” said Shirey.


Why did you decide to use your hair as a donation?

“I have donated my hair about five times now,” said Arena. “As soon as it gets too long to deal with anymore, I want to cut it. I feel that since I am fortunate enough to be able to grow my own hair, I may as well donate it to someone who can’t rather than it being thrown away.”

“I’m cutting my hair to help support patients undergoing cancer treatment. Due to treatment, many cancer patients lose their hair. Hair is a funny thing. It’s not something we think about much until it’s taken away from us. Sometimes the gift of a wig can really boost the spirits of cancer patients and give them a little bit more autonomy in a rough situation,” said Nicoloso.


Why did you choose Chatham’s Relay For Life and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths?

“I chose to raise money through Relay for Life because many of my family members and friends have or had cancer,” said Nicoloso. “Some of them lost their battle, and some are still fighting, but no matter what, the support that events like Relay for Life are invaluable for patients and caregivers alike,” said Nicoloso.

RFL’s donations all go to the American Cancer Society so cancer research can be done, as well as campaigns such as the Great American Smokeout, and provide support for those who currently have cancer.


Did you know anyone else was cutting their hair? How did all three of you decide to do it together?


“I originally got the idea when Kaitlyn and I were talking about how much easier our hair would be to manage if we shaved our head.  Then we thought about donating it, and the idea sort of just stemmed from there,” said Arena.

“I have donated my hair several times in the past- roughly every two years for a while now. I wanted to donate my hair soon and one day I brought it up at dinner with Kaitlyn and Krista. Eventually, we couldn’t stop talking about donating our hair, and once we got in touch with [Chatham Relay for Life president] Lynzy Groves, the whole thing just came together,” said Nicoloso.


How do you think people will react to your new hairstyle?


A big hair change is a lot for many people to handle. All three of the young women express that they are expecting shock from others and even themselves.

“I already know my dad will not be happy. But if the donations are high enough, and I end up cutting my hair really short — I’ve [wanted] to try it — I may as well make such a drastic change while I’m in college.  I feel like everyone will be very surprised at first, because I am somewhat known for how long my hair is, ” said Arena, who has donated her hair before, but has since felt her hair length was becoming part of her identity on campus.

“I often wonder whether I’ll even look like myself or be recognizable after all my hair is gone,” said Shirey, who has had longer hair for most of her life and is making the largest change if enough money is donated. From over a foot of hair to shaving her head, everyone is in for a surprise.

“My family may be a bit more shocked.  I honestly don’t know what any of them will say when they find out how much has been cut — hopefully, all of it,” she said. “[It will be interesting] when they see me for the first time.”

For Nicoloso, who has donated her hair a handful of times before, she says that she gets mixed reviews over the way her hair looks after a big chop.

“At the end of the day, I don’t care about other people’s reactions. It’s my hair, and I can do what I want with it. I’m not using it, so if I can donate it to someone who will genuinely appreciate it, then I’m more than happy to do so. Besides, my parents always told me that the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is two weeks,” said Nicoloso.

Relay For Life is from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Feb. 5. “Loose Ends” will be cutting their hair at 7 p.m. in the AFC. To donate to their team, visit the Chatham event page on the Relay for Life website.