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The GCE OnIns are compilations of student work in interactive ways. We hope you dive into the installations and feel inspired by our motto: “Reinvent Possibility”.

Click on the preview below to access our new GCE Blog.


Below you may find examples of past posts from GCE Student Portfolios.

Exploration Library

For my independent study, in addition to transcribing poems of Fernando Pessoa, I have been studying different ways of archiving and organizing libraries. After reading related texts and visiting libraries, including the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation, I created my own (sadly hypothetical) library. Even once I had my plan, it was a long Read More…

The homeowners manifesto to smarter living!

For our first action project in my humanities class, Equality, we had to create our own manifesto that addressed a certain case study we saw an inequality in. The case study that I decided to work on was homeownership in the United States. I knew that there were inequalities between race and class when it comes to homeownership but I never realized the magnitude of the inequalities. I’m also very proud about the multiple solutions I have devised to try and lessen the gap of inequalities. Below is my written manifesto as well as a quick recording of two small excerpts, enjoy!

Ownership: accomplishing and exciting or dispiriting and dreary? To understand the definition of ownership we must first look at how that word has transpired through our history and what connotations linger with it. The literal definition of ownership is, the act, state, or right of possessing something. But many don’t look at ownership like this. Due to the large inequalities in ownership around the world I think many believe ownership is an ungraspable thing in their lives. I believe one of the hardest things to own in this world is homeownership and specifically in the United States.

For as long as history can go back there has been a large inequality of home ownership in the United States between white citizens and black citizens. A struggle not only of race but of class as well. For the longest time the conventional wisdom was that white citizens were in the upper class and black citizens were under classmen. Many people point fingers to housing or mortgage discrimination but I believe the perpetrators of this inequality are those not giving teen minorities the proper education. Low income families cannot afford private education for their children so they are stuck with public education. With lowly funded education many minority families are stuck in a vicious cycle of cheap education and cheap jobs. There are groups such as Home-FreeUSA who are attempting to help families settle into new homes for less or to help with foreclosure but they are focusing on housing. It’s like trying to teach a ninety year old man how to play basketball. You need to start from a young age with good training to give them the opportunity to prosper. The same goes for education. 

My 3 Commandments to help stop this inequality are: 

A time in history that someone has attempted my commandment is commandment 1. In Chicago what began in 1942 for GI’s to have a place to call home after working in the factories had over the years turned into housing projects. What first started out as an attempt to create affordable housing later turned into one of the most infamous housing projects in the nation. Due to the high crime rates and gang related homicides in 1995 they ordered the demolition of Cabrini Green. Although this attempt at public housing did not effectively work I believe that there are ways to stop these high crime rates in public housing. 

Another solution I have devised of teaching kids money management skills is being done right now in current history. There are multiple articles helping parents of how to teach their children and even the bank First American Bank has created a game to help kids understand the meaning of conservation.


uhby, Tami. N.p.. Web. 9 Sep 2013. <http://economy.money.cnn.com/2012/03/22/inequality-gap-widens-in-home-ownership/>.

^ “Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity of Householder: 1994-2010″. Housing Vacancies and Homeownership: Annual Statistics 2010. U.S. Census Bureau.

. N.p.. Web. 9 Sep 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_inequality_in_the_United_States>.

IHEJIRIKA, MAUDLYNE. N.p.. Web. 16 Sep 2013. <http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2246720-418/cabrini-housing-cha-residents-public.html>.


Cost/Benefit of College

For my first action project we had to find the cost benefit of a career of our choice and the college we would attend to achieve that career. One of the things I’m considering to pursuing in the near future is training and studying to become a wilderness paramedic. I think the thing I’m most proud of in this project is just the large amount of time and effort I put into this since it will help decide my career in adulthood. One interesting thing I learned about pursuing my career is that I can work with an organization known as National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS to help obtain my wilderness certificates. Below is my overall cost benefit analysis and a video explaining what I plan on doing if I choose this path. Enjoy!

Investigating into my future

I plan to attend Malcolm X community college to obtain my Associates in the paramedics Applied Science Degree also known as a (A.A.S.). In the profession of a paramedic successful completion of the emergency medical technician basic training course, Paramedic Core Curriculum, complimentary general education courses, in field experience and passing the state licensing exam enables the paramedic student to attain an A.A.S. degree. The difference between the (A.C.) or advanced certificate and the (A.A.S.) is that in the (A.A.S.) you have to take an additional 27 credit hours where you go more in depth in the physiology and anatomy of the human body as well as some psychology.

After graduating from Malcolm X community college I plan on participating in a 135 day long NOLS trip also known as National Outdoor Leadership School. During this trip I will be certified in wilderness first response and as a leave no trace master educator. Not only will I receive these certifications but I will also receive training for hiking, rock climbing, sea kayaking, mountaineering and participate in a student group expedition. Sea kayaking training will consist of coastal navigation, paddle strokes, rescue techniques, and building seamanship skills. In rock climbing training I will be taught mountaineering techniques such as top-rope, lead climb, multi-pitch climb, and boulder. While hiking through Patagonia I will learn camping skills, navigation, route-finding in the mountains, expedition behavior and communication skills. During our mountaineering segment of the trip I will receive training in ice climbing, peak ascents, snow climbing, crampon use as well as refining wilderness camping and travel techniques. Finally me and a small group usually consisting of 4-6 students will go on our own expedition. During this expedition we will have to talk about our group goals, planning the route, arranging pickup and drop off locations, preparing your equipment, organizing your rations and fuel, and discussing emergency plans all on our own. 

My cost for my two years at Malcolm X community college and NOLS will be a little under $41,000 including school supplies. Here is my projected cost for the three years and since my parents live in Chicago I will not have to worry about housing or food.


Projected Cost of Attendance







Total Cost of Attendance


(This table shows my total cost of college and NOLS without the interest payments)

Although this is my projected cost for all three years without the interest of my student loans I still do unfortunately have to pay the interest on the loans as well. With an interest rate of 5% percent on my student loans the actual projected cost is below. 


Beginning Balance


Interest Rate

Interest Paid

Principal Paid

Ending Balance




































True Cost of College


               (This table shows my true cost of college when I had the interest)

My annual payment seen here is because the average salary of a wilderness paramedic in California, where I would like to work, is $52,000 a year. Which means setting aside 20% of my annual yearly salary will give me the opportunity to pay all my loans off within five years.

I expect to work about 45 years as a wilderness paramedic which means my total gain not including any other factors will put me at  3,307,938.45  in profit or in other words around 3.3 million dollars. I estimated this final result by using this table of projected salary increase below over the 45 year time span.

Reference Data

Entry-level Salary


Mid-level Salary


Senior-level Salary


Annual Salary Raise (%)


            (This table shows the projected increase of my salary)

My job outlook is that there will be an increase of paramedics by 33%. This is one of the fastest growing careers based on total number of paramedics and the total number of paramedics in the United States is roughly around 226,500. the demand and need for paramedics will increase as well. Below is a projected graph of the supply and demand of paramedics now and in future times.

As you can see the secondary demand curve is the project demand years from now and the upwards curve in the supply line is due to the higher than normal 33% increase. I graphed my demand like this because there will always be a demand for paramedics especially as the population is increasing. It is also not a job that can not be outsourced since it is a career that needs in-person one on one care with patients. 

I also went on a field trip to IIT and Harold washington community college to ask the admissions officers at both places if they think college is a worthwhile decision. Both of the admissions officers highly recommended attending college. They said that you may have student loans to pay off but with a college education you are broadening your career opportunities a huge amount.

Through my extensive research, assuming I can work for 45 years in a physically demanding job, and pay my student loans on time. I believe that pursuing a career as a wilderness paramedic is the right choice. Due to my job security of it never being outsourced, the never ending demand for paramedics as well as the low costs I will be paying for my education I could not think of another job that saves me money and has some of the things I cherish most, Nature and helping others.


“Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm>.

“Wilderness Paramedic Salary in California.” Indeed.com. Indeed.com, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=wilderness+paramedic&l1=california+>.

“EMT and Paramedic Information.” City of Chicago ::. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cfd/supp_info/cfd_emt_and_paramedicinfo.html>.

“Year in Patagonia.” Year in Patagonia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.nols.edu/courses/locations/patagonia/year_in_patagonia.shtml>.

“EMT II Paramedic.” Ccc.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.ccc.edu/Colleges/malcolm-x/Programs/Pages/EMT-II-Paramedic-Associate-in-Applied-Science.aspx>.

Is college worth it?

For my first action project in Economics, we were challenged to question our immediate futures. We were told to decide whether or not we wanted to go to college, where you will be studying or working next year, and to calculate our net earnings throughout our professional careers. I recorded a one minute video log explaining my decision and why I chose it. Below that you will find my 800 word essay on my decision, my career calculations, and reasoning. In that essay you will find a salary graph and two supply and demand graphs. I hope you enjoy!

After a long thought process I’ve decided to attend a four year university. This upcoming fall I will be attending the University of Kansas to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus on mental retardation. I chose University of Kansas due to its impressive psychology program and price, which is nearly half the yearly cost of universities like Cornell College and University of Michigan. When I graduate I will be a Mental Retardation Specialist. An MRS has a group of adult clients that suffer from mental retardation. The MRS creates monthly goals, organizes field trips, and helps care take for the clients. I chose this profession because I worked under an MRS this past summer. I fell in love with working with those less fortunate. Throughout an ever changing world, it is fair to assume that there will always be people with disabilities which keeps my job in a high demand.

Assuming I keep the position of Mental Retardation Specialist for 45 years, I can calculate my lifetime earnings from the day of graduation to the day of my retirement. As an entry level employee I will be making $60,000 every year. My total cost of attending the University of Kansas is $225,998.12, with a salary improving 1.5% every year I will make around $245,454 in my first four years out of college. In comparing the cost of college and my four year salary you will notice that I will earn approximately $19,000 more than I spent on college. In my opinion, this alone makes attending a four year university well worth the price. Although, What I find most fascinating, is calculating my earnings throughout my 45 year professional career. I will keep the entry level salary position for five years, then graduate to a mid level salary for twenty five years, and finally reach the senior level position to keep for the next fifteen years. Below is a graph showing the growth in my salary throughout my 45 year career.

Throughout my professional career, I will earn approximately $3,816,850. This number does more than exceed what I payed for college, and gives me enough earnings to provide college tuition for future children and loved ones.

Supply and demand in my job market is one of the most consistent of any position in the world. It is widely recognized that there is most definitely no cure for autism or mental retardation. Studies from the U.S Government show that 1 in 17 people suffer from an untreatable mental illness. While doing research on my profession I was able to calculate that there are approximately 174,000 psychologists focusing on mental illness in America. Those numbers do not, in fact, calculate the percentage of those psychologists focusing on mental retardation. We should expect a much small number, meaning a much higher demand for the position. Below is my supply and demand graph for mental retardation specialists and psychologists. The first graph is the supply and demand of the year 2024, and the second is supply and demand for today. I chose this year because it is exactly 20 years into the future and directly in the in the middle of my median salary.


(Year 2023-24)                   (Year 2013-14)

Notice that there is nearly no change in the supply and demand curves? This is because the rate of autistic and mentally ill human beings has not raised in the past five years and does not look to increase in the future. It has been theorized that the amount of students in college will dramatically decrease due to apprentice programs and better job opportunities out of school. This information, essentially, does not apply to psychologists or mental retardation specialists because the knowledge of the human brain is something that needs to be learned at a college level to work in the profession. This is not a profession you can pick up right out of high school. While the number of those with mental illness may not increase or decrease, you may notice the supply of employees has increased in the second graph. This, in my opinion is because of the awareness being raised by funds such as “autism speaks”,“autism society”, etc.

Overall, I fully believe that receiving  a four year degree can be fully worth the money if you’re willing to learn and succeed after college. Many people will begin to opine that college isn’t worth it in the near future. While this is a respected opinion, you have a 70% better chance of getting hired with a degree. The world is an ever changing place, especially with new groundbreaking technologies, but I believe that no price can keep you from achieving your goals.


University of Kansas, 9/14/13. http://admissions.ku.edu/

INdeed.com, 9/14/13. http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Mental-Health-Mental-Retardation-Specialist-l-Chicago-IL.html

The The True Cost of My College Degree


Creative Commons.

Fleshmen, Michael. “Free education to all“. (2012) Internet: Flickr.

For the first action project in the Economics course, we did some research to find the true cost of college education since it’s getting more expensive. The purpose of this project was for us to understand whether it’s worth it going to college after finance our entire cost of college education. I found out that the answer is different for everyone, it depends one what your’re trying to major in and the college you want to attend. It felt good to know what I am walking into because the cost of college tuition is getting higher than the benefits of college education. I did some research and conducted an interview to understand my college cost and benefits if I decide to major in Mechanical Engineering. Below is my visual presentation.

The real cost of college

For my first Action Project in Econ (an integrated math and science class) we were tasked with finding out the true cost of college, and the cost truly is huge.  We focussed on not only the monetary costs, but also our missed opportunity cost, or in other words what we could be doing instead of going to college.  In the powerpoint presentation and video below you can see my thought process as I decide wether or not I want to go to college to become a Web Developer, or don’t go to college and start work instantly.  One thing I didn’t take into account while doing this project is the support for my parents who will most likely be paying a chunk of my college tuition, and without them this would be near to impossible to do.  In the powerpoint below I will go over the hard facts and compare going to a four year school, or in this case Earlham College in Indiana, versus not going to college, and starting work right away- the results are shocking!  Below my powerpoint I’ve made a quick one minute video going over my thought process, and the main reasons I chose to go to College, rather than going right to work!


Powerpoint presentation on the cost-benefit of going to College

One minute video on why I want to go to Earlham College

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