Floridian Alex Hilliard Finds New Home, Creative Outlet at Boston University

(Classmate Profile)/Neville


Floridian Alex Hilliard Finds New Home, Creative Outlet at Boston University

By Nick Neville

There’s an old adage that states if you want to be a good writer, you must read a lot. Alex Hilliard, Boston University sophomore and journalism major, hears this message loud and clear.

The Coral Springs, Florida native has always been passionate about writing, but has also never shied away from a good book – or magazine for that matter. In fact, when asked about her career goals, Hilliard says she aspires to someday work for an arts and culture magazine or potentially get into art criticism.

Why journalism? It may seem like somewhat of a surprise when both of her parents, Anthony and Genie, graduated from Boston College Law School, but she noted that her parents were critical in helping her decide a career path. Seeing that she took a special interest in writing, they encouraged her at every turn.

“They’re very supportive of me,” Hilliard said. “My parents don’t really push me because I think they were both kind of pushed to do things so they just are letting me do what I truly want.”

Although 19-year-old Hilliard was born and raised in Florida, her father is from Missouri and her mother is from one of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. Born Genie DeBarros, Hilliard’s mother spent the first part of her life in this Portuguese colony before moving to America when she was nine years old, becoming the first member of her family to attend college in the United States.

Her parents met at BC Law School, where they became “grad school sweethearts.” After graduation, they moved to Florida where they began a family, first having Alex and then her younger sister Arianna, currently a sophomore in high school.

Despite the fact that both her parents attended BC, Hilliard herself did not have much interest in the school.

“I was looking at it, but I thought it was a little too conservative,” she said. “I liked Boston and I really wanted to be in a city, but I thought New York was too much at the time so I felt that Boston was basically the next step.”

In addition to the city atmosphere that surrounds BU, Hilliard cited the school’s renowned College of Communication as one of the other deciding factors in her decision to come here. She has fit right in, making the most of the great programs BU has to offer journalism students.

She wrote for the blog section of the student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, last year, where she got to cover a myriad of exciting events. She wrote about everything from gallery openings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to current events and politics. Additionally, she is a contributor to BU’s fashion magazine, Off the Cuff.

“I liked that a lot because it’s an actual magazine,” she said. “I did a dorm-style piece on two different people where I went and interviewed them on how their style affected the way they decorated their dorm, and then I did a few trendy things, like one on sneakerheads.”

Hilliard has a number of other outlets through which she showcases her abilities in addition to BU related extracurriculars. Over the summer she interned for New York Minute Magazine, writing two-three articles each week for their entertainment column. She is also a skilled photographer, and has a website dedicated to her collection (cargocollective.com/alexhilliard).

Her talents don’t stop there, though. She was an elite soccer player in her youth, playing on a number of travel teams. She and her sister even named their dog Mia after US women’s national team star Mia Hamm.

Where does she see herself in ten years?

“Definitely in New York,” she said, smiling. “Job-wise I can’t really do anything in Florida, and the heat is too much for me… I’d love to be writing for something like Nylon or New York magazine where its like arts and culture and not one specific thing.”

New Data Proves Unsettling for First Marriages

JO250 Week 2 Homework: Ch. 12 Exercise 4

New Data Proves Unsettling for First Marriages

A recent study on marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the US provided statistics to show that the older a bride is, the longer the first marriage will be.

The main information discovered by the report, released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicated that 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years.

Dr. Edward Sondik, director of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, conducted the study. “First Marriage Dissolution, Divorce, and Remarriage: United States,” as the report is called, is based on data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a study of 10,847 women ages 15-44.

“These data offer an important glimpse into the social fabric of this country,” said Dr. Sondik. “The implications of divorce cut across a number of societal issues – socioeconomics, health, and the welfare of our children.”

Among the other findings:

  • One in three first marriages end within 10 years, while one in five end within five years.
  • Duration of marriage is linked to a women’s age at first marriage.
    • almost 2/3 of marriages to teenage brides end, compared to 36 percent of those married at 20 or older.
  • About 97 percent of separated non-Hispanic white women are divorced within five years of separation, compared with 77 percent of separated Hispanic women and only 67 percent of non-Hispanic black women.
  • Younger women who divorce are more likely to remarry.
    • 81 percent of those divorced before age 25 remarry within 10 years, compared with 68 percent of those divorced at age 25 or older.

These staggering divorce statistics have other implications, as CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan noted.

“Separation and divorce can have adverse effects on the health and well-being of children and adults,” he said. “Past research has shown that divorce is associated with higher rates of mortality, more health problems, and more risky behaviors such as increased alcohol use.”

What do you think has contributed to rising divorce rates in this country?

(Poll Question: Have you or someone in your immediate family gone through a divorce? Yes/No)

New Study Finds Alarming Statistics for Left-Handed People

JO250 Week 2 Homework: Ch. 2 Exercise 1

New Study Finds Alarming Statistics for Left-Handed People

A study conducted last year by a psychology professor and researcher concluded that right-handed people tend to live about nine years longer than left-handed people.

(Suggestion for visual presentation: chart representing the staggering findings of the study. Facts to be repeated: 1) right-handed people die around age 75 while left-handed people die around 66 2) left-handed women die around age 72, while right-handed women die around 78 3) left-handed men die around 62, while right-handed men die about 73)

Diane Halpern, professor at California State University at San Bernardino, and Stanley Coren, researcher at the University of British Columbia, undertook the study with the purpose of determining why there are fewer members of the elderly population that are left-handed.

The main point discovered by the study, which was reported in today’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, was that the average age of death for left-handed people, who only represent 10 percent of the population, is 66 while the average age of death for right-handed people is 75.

“The results are striking in their magnitude,” right-handed Halpern said.

The average age of death discrepancy is much worse for men. Left-handed women die around age 72, while right-handed women die around age 78. Shockingly left-handed men die around age 62, while their counterparts live about 11 more years.

This data should be viewed cautiously, though, as the study is a general estimate based upon the death certificates of 987 people in two Southern California counties. It does not represent the entire population.

“It should not, of course, be used to predict the life span of any one individual,” Halpern said. “It does not take into account the fitness of any individual.”

The study also concluded that left-handed people were four times more likely to die from injuries while driving than right-handers and six times more likely to die from accidents of any kind.

“Almost all engineering is geared to the right hand and right foot,” Halpern said. “There are many more car and other accidents among left-handers because of their environment.”

Halpern was quick to note than left-handed people should not be overly alarmed.

“Some of my best friends are left-handed,” she said. “It’s important that mothers of left-handed children not be alarmed and not try to change which hand a child uses. There are many, many old left-handed people.”