Ubi Investment Pitch

May 30, 2014 in Enterprise

For my final Action Project in Enterprise we were tasked with pitching the business that we created in the past Unit. I did this by drafting a shorter version of my executive summary located in my original business plan. It was difficult to set up the pitch in a way that had good flow and still covered the massive amount of  information. My favorite part was setting up a script that flowed well and that would interest potential investors. If you’d like to view my project from last unit, which was creating a business plan click this linkIf you’d like to see my pitch for my company Ubi view it below!

Me, Myself, and Pi

May 29, 2014 in Endurance, English & History

For my final Action Project of Endurance we were tasked with writing a paper reflecting on one of the books or survivors that we studied in class. I chose Piscine from Life of Pi and went in depth about how reading the book has modified my outlook on life. I really enjoyed reading and getting immersed in such an excellent book, yet found it very difficult to find so many quotes to use. If you’re interested on what I got out of Life of Pi, please read below!


Name: JH

Course: Endurance

Date: 05/29/2014

Word Count: 898 words

Me, Myself, and Pi

How does one find the strength to endure?

A life raft, an ocean, a young boy, and a tiger cross paths in what is one of the most unique and captivating stories of all time. In a course about Endurance, Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) is the first person that comes to my mind. The young boy who in Life of Pi endured on a boat, with a tiger, for 227 days. He taught the tiger how to behave, and managed to create a daily routine which kept him alive and sane. This boy was dropped in one of the most difficult situation imaginable and acted in a way you wouldn’t expect Survivorman to.

“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.” (Page 15)

Pi, a young boy at the age of only sixteen he was able to be so brave and take such huge risks, which lead to him being able to endure and live on the boat for 227 days. It’s inspiring to see how difficult of a task he faced, and how he took it head on and never gave up. In the end, he was victorious and years later had his own family and it goes to show that things do get better, even at the darkest moments in your life. Pi went through various stages of belief in faith, questioning what had been taught to him, he was only then able to learn on his own and find his own meaning. I find this to be an extremely crucial part that everyone goes through in life, whether or not it has to do with faith– that transformation is crucial.

“I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops my heart.” (Page 8)

Pi’s journey although extremely intense relates to the journey everyone goes through in their life, referred to as the Hero’s Journey. This idea that we in the span of our life go past many obstacles, peer into the unknown only to conquer the obstacles in front of us. My hero’s journey has already taken place in the past five years of my life. I’ve gone through trials and tribulations that have shaped the kind of person I am today. Learning how to manage time on my own, deal with learning how to spend money, and how to solve problems with friends and families are just a few of the things I’ve endured thus far. I’ve conquered my fears and pushed my boundaries, all of these experiences have come together to create the person I am today, which may be completely different from who I will be five years from now.

“Life on a lifeboat isn’t much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn’t be more simple, nor the stakes higher.” (Page 138)

In the future I hope to be able to create a company doing something I love, or work somewhere where I can be extremely passionate about what I’m doing. I want to find meaning in what I do, I don’t believe that work should be separate from the rest of our lives, I think it should add to it and give it meaning. I hope to be able to travel fearlessly through places I’ve never gone, and never would have thought of going to before. I want to push myself every day in whatever my passion is, and never let a day go wasted. Life of Pi has helped to give me this kind of meaning, as it has helped me realize how fragile and difficult life is. It’s something I’m going to hold with me moving forward, as being able to endure past the hard times is how you get to the good ones.

I believe that in the end Pi was actually lucky enough to have a second chance at life. He is able to restart his life however he wants to, and although he didn’t want to lose his whole family, if this incident never happened he never would have met his current wife. Pi was able to overcome one of the most difficult adventures of all time at such a young age, which really speaks to his character and how he will evolve into an amazing person as time goes on. I believe that people who are around more difficult and serious events have a much more mature outlook, even if it does happen at such a young age. I believe that Pi being able to go through loss, defeat, conquer, faith, and others obstacles has shown how strong the will to live is. It’s made me think about and cherish the life I have because it’s so delicate and can change at any sudden moment. In the future I’d like to learn to be grateful of what I have by always having in mind the question What if what I have today isn’t what I will have tomorrow?



Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Print.

“Analysis of Major Characters.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lifeofpi/canalysis.html>.

Weston, Paula. “Great Stories.” Life of Pi Explained. Great Stories, 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://paula-greatstories.blogspot.com/2008/09/life-of-pi-explained.html>.

Phutully, Chris. “”The Real Life of Pi”" Flickr. Yahoo!, 5 Jan. 2013. Web. 02 June 2014. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/72562013%40N06/8349541302>.

Ubi Coming Soon To Chicago!

May 22, 2014 in Enterprise

For my second to last action project in Enterprise we were tasked with creating a Business and completing a Business Plan, our hardest assignment yet. This has been one of the most rewarding yet difficult tasks to take on at GCE as far as action projects go, and was also one of my favorites. I created a company named Ubi, which is an iPhone repair company. I talked with wholesale technology companies as well as competing iPhone repair companies during my process of creating a business. It’s been a long process and has turned out really well. If you’d like to read through my business plan, or invest in my idea read below!

Click here for a more in-depth look.

by JH

12 Hours of Photography

May 12, 2014 in Enterprise by JH

For my Second Action Project in Endurance, an integrated English and History course we were tasked with spending 12 hours to practice a skill or talent. I chose to practice a skill I was once interested in, photography. I started by borrowing a friend’s Nikon D5000 to take photos, I then started learning how to use Adobe Lightroom 5, a professional photo editing program. The goal of this project was to be able to enhance my photography skills so that I can become a better storyteller. During this project I went on about six different photoshoots and encountered multiple different problems that each have helped me learn something new. I faced problems such as weather and temperature, event closures, and camera quality. Each problem has helped given me a new prospective on how to plan for a photoshoot. I’ve learned that trying to follow a strict agenda while doing photography can prove to be very difficult because of the vast amount of moving parts that you have no control over. Parts such as weather and temperature, building and road closures, and issues with models that you planned on shooting. From this experience I have learned to put more thought into setting up a photoshoot, checking the weather forecasts as well as scouting the area a day before are nearly essential, checking in with the model the day before to confirm is equally important as well. This project has significantly helped my photography skills as I’ve been forced to invest a large amount of time into it and have been diligently practicing my photo taking and editing skills. I’ve even worked to create my own personal resume for my photos which can be found at jakehoover.com. I’m extremely proud of how my project has turned out and I’m excited to continue practicing photography in the future. If you’d like to see  my photography you can visit my website, and if you’d like to see my process through this project watch the video below.

by JH

Enterprise Test

April 23, 2014 in Enterprise by JH

For our first Action Project we were given a test to recap the first Unit to test our knowledge and understanding of what we’ve learned so far. This first unit has helped us to create a baseline understanding of how to create a company as we transition into starting our own company in the next two units. In this term I’ve researched companies like Zappos, Apple, and Geneva Investment Management in order to get an understanding of businesses that do things different and are extremely successful. I’m excited to go through the process of creating a business plan as some day I would like to start a business of my own. Getting some experience on how to start a company is a vital component to my future success as an entrepreneur.

by JH

What’s your path in life?

April 22, 2014 in Endurance by JH

For my first Action Project in Endurance, a English and History class meant to ready Seniors for College, we created Mandalas. We did this as part of recognizing our journey through life. Our first Unit has been about vision and self-exploration and this project has made us reflect on our life in order to create our Mandalas. The most difficult part for this project has been bringing my idea to reality by the medium of Painting. I’m not a skilled artist and I feel that I wasn’t able to fully realize my vision due to lack of art skills. I’m extremely proud with my idea for my mandala, though I hope others follow my idea while creating a Mandala for them. Check out my Artist Statement and Mandala below!

Acrylic on Canvas Board

With this Mandala I’ve created I took a very unique approach. To me, a Mandala is a representation for the journey of one’s life. For my Mandala, I created an abstract painting, inspired by the abstract art class I’m currently in. I thought this medium would be best because it makes my art more open to interpretation and allows people to get what they see out of it, rather than me telling them.

My Mandala is the journey of my life up to now, as well as the future. Each line represents a different stage or experience in my life, and the lines come together to create a circle. This circle as a whole represents who I am, and when you look deeper into who I am you see the experiences that have molded me into the person I am today.

Mandala represents the different periods in my life so far, and how they have created who I am today, you can look at my legend for a deeper understanding. It carries the idea that you are made of the experiences in your life. People can look at my mandala and see the different colors and textures to be able to tell which times in my life have been more easy and happy while others have been more difficult and dark.

I’d like people to take away the idea that you are the captain of your ship of life. In the book Endurance, Frank Worsley was a master navigator who led the group to safety, without his navigational skills they all would have gotten lost and died in the Arctic. I believe that being able to navigate your own life is just as important, your life decisions should be up to you as your life is made up of your own experiences.  You create the experiences that make you into the person and it’s up to you to decide the kind of person you are going to become. For me, it’s my family, friends, travel experiences, and personal struggles that have made me into who I am today. If everyone were to do a Mandala in the same style I did they would all look unique, some brighter, some darker, but unique nonetheless.

The main symbols I use are lines, although I was inspired by an art piece of a completely different medium. The art piece which inspired me the most is a group of statues that are installed at the corner of Roosevelt and Michigan in Chicago. The texture of these statues is really vivid and adds a lot to the art piece, which gave me the idea of texturing my art piece to add some character to it. I was also inspired by  Colors represent mood and emotion of a path, lighter being happier, darker being gloomier. Paths also have textures based on the difficulty of it, creating a more rocky or rough path. My hope is that others could create a mandala in this style to share their life stories as well.

by JH

Homework Help Prototype App

February 24, 2014 in Math & Science, User Experience Design (UXD) by JH

We are trying to equip students with a tool that will allow them to excel in school. This tool, or App, will give students the ability to easily create a schedule to keep track of homework assignments. The current problem facing students is that they are sometimes unable to keep track of all their homework assignments, and have trouble staying on track or keeping a strict schedule. This App gives them the tools necessary to achieve their academic goals by allowing them to track homework due dates and adjust how much of an assignment has been completed on the fly. After talking with teenaged students, we found that 90% of them would use an App that could help them to keep track of their homework. 80% of students currently keep track of their homework in a tangible notebook. We envision switching away from the tangible notebook as a way to keep track of homework to homework tracking in a digital environment, where students can remotely access their homework assignments and share what is due with their peers.


Lily B, Junior at GCE Chicago

Bio: Lily almost always completes her homework on time, and on the off chance that she does not, it is due to a communication breakdown in terms of what the teacher assigned and what she writes down. She currently looks at all her homework assignments online, but would be willing to using an App to help track her homework if it was significantly better, easier and made doing homework more organized.

Goals: Lily would like to never miss another homework assignment due to miscommunication. She currently spends around two hours a night on homework, but thinks she could reduce that time if she had a stricter, more organized schedule.

Frustrations: Lily is frustrated with her inability to plan ahead and create a schedule. Currently, all of her homework assignments are written down in an online notepad, which does not allow her to plan ahead or put assignments or schedules into a calendar. Lily would like to have a structured schedule so she can find time to do her homework in her busy daily life.

Design Principles

-Organize homework assignments

-Simple to use

-Easy Contact with teachers with questions about homework


-List homework and due date in a spreadsheet format

-Prioritize assignments with rankings with 1-5 stars

-Show progress with percentages

-Give details of each assignment

– Ability to E-mail teachers quickly and efficiently

Usability Test

The users liked the App a lot. Darrion, Abdul and Mateo tested our prototype, and thought this app would be very useful. They were a bit upset that it wasn’t actually an app. These students typically forget some of their homework assignments that is why I tested this prototype on them. They said it was easy, straight to the point and had very good features. The only thing they would add was the ability to connect with teachers more easily, so we added that feature to our prototype.


This App solves our problem by allowing teachers to place their homework into it through the computer. They log into the app and place homework into the calendar. When a student signs in, they can see their class schedule with their current homework assignments. The teachers can add due dates, details and other vital information about the assignments. The student can click on the assignment, and can see everything the teacher has posted. Finally, students can e-mail their teachers from the assignment details page if communication is necessary.

This is our app

by JH

99 Boxes of Coffee Creamer on the Wall…

February 24, 2014 in English & History, Journalism by JH

For my third Action Project in Journalism, I was tasked with creating a Spot Story. A spot story is a journalistic approach to covering an event and, more than most other stories or narratives, a spot story focuses on the eight News Values[link to news vals]. I went to the Lakeview Food pantry and took a rather abnormal journalistic approach by also participating in the event, not only watching like most stories nowadays are. By taking on this role of going out and writing a spot story I was able to much better learn the process journalists go through, and it has given me a deeper meaning for what journalism is. I learned about the huge amount of planning that goes into creating a story, as well as the amount of research that goes in afterwards,in order to give a good amount of background info about the event. 

If you’d like to read my spot story, check it out below!

Lakeview Food Pantry

A cold Tuesday afternoon in Chicago I find myself at 1414 W. Oakdale standing outside of the Lakeview Food Pantry. More specifically it’s 4:45 and after a quick five minute introduction and walk around I find myself standing in front of a 18-wheeler semi truck being told it’s time to work on unloading donations. If I had any common sense I would have started running right then. The only thing scarier than the semi truck itself were the contents. Two full pallets of Coffee Creamer from Walmart.

And there stood Carrie and I, standing outside on a Cold Chicago Tuesday, staring at a huge semi truck which somehow managed to fit into the small church parking lot. Out comes two men who quickly come over to say hello, and quickly follow that up with asking if we have a Pallet carrier. Looking rather confused Carrie (head of operations) responds saying no, of course. The two men look at each other, then open the back of the semi truck and leave us in awe, staring at two pallets of Coffee Creamer. These wouldn’t fit in the huge refrigerator the Pantry owned, even if we took everything else out. The more important question was, who is about to move a couple thousand pounds of coffee creamer.

Lakeview Food Pantry hands out food to 30 people 3-4 times a week, giving as much as 50 pounds of food to each person. This food consists of non-perishables, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and meats. This little operation, ran out of the basement of a church ran by two full time employees and on average ten volunteers hands out as much as 4500 pounds of food a week! While sorting produce, Carrie  told us that, while deciding whether or not food is good, think “would I eat it?” we often lower our standards in these situations but Carrie made it a point to make sure the clients receive as much respect as possible.

Lakeview Food Pantries serve more than 12,000 individuals (located in the Lakeview neighborhood) with bi-weekly food supplies as well as weekly fresh bread and produce. They have only 10 full-time staff and have more than 800 dedicated volunteers. They have only two locations and serve 1.5 millions pounds a year, but this wouldn’t be possible without some of their major partners: Greater Chicago Food Depository, Green City Market, Jewel, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.

You’d be amazed by how much could get done at this little cramped location in the basement of an old church. A lot of time is spend weighing the food so that they can track how much they get from each of their partners, next, the most difficult part: sorting. A lot of the fresh produce is past its sell-by date; not all of it has gone bad, but we had to make sure to go through to make sure all of the food was high quality and was something we would eat. I spent a solid twenty minutes looking through crate, after crate, after crate of bananas sorting them into good, and trash. Taking part in handing out food to the clients can be extremely rewarding, and even though you may be exhausted after spending a couple hours running around your feet, you’ll go home knowing you made a difference in Chicago tonight.

by JH

Helping Students Do Homework

February 12, 2014 in Math & Science, User Experience Design (UXD) by JH

For my second Action Project in UXD (User Experience Design), we were tasked with improving something that teens often have trouble with. We conducted ten interview on teens in relation to homework, a major problem among teens. We had an overwhelming response around how difficult it is to track and stay on top of their homework loads. For this project we researched multiple other homework apps to figure out what features are most used to be able to incorporate all of those into a single app. We made a total of five designs and through our process we narrowed down what features were absolutely necessary and ended up with a great final design. If you would like to view the presentation we made, keep on reading below!

by JH

Holy Cow! — A Voice of the 20th Century

February 10, 2014 in English & History, Journalism by JH

For my second Action Project in my Journalism (an integrated english and history course) class, our goal was to create the Story of a Voice through creating a podcast inspired by the famous podcast series, This American Life. We were supposed to portray a popular voice of the 20th century and explain their importance and who they are/were. I chose to share the life and career of Harry Caray, baseball announcer for the Cubs along with a few other teams. I researched into how he had an impact on Chicago, the game of baseball, and the United States as a whole. He is known famously for being extremely enthusiastic and having a personality bigger than life itself. In the process of creating a podcast I quickly learned the importance of having good questions. Previously in this unit about Journalism and Podcasts we worked on forming good questions which is a really useful skill to have. If you’re interested in learning more about Harry Caray and his role in the game of baseball, read my podcast below!

See the transcription here.

by JH

The answer to life is…

January 24, 2014 in Journalism by JH

For my first Action Project in Journalism we were tasked with figuring out what the meaning of life is. A huge topic, no single answer is correct, so I decided to interview one of my grandparents, someone who has lived a long life and might have a better understanding. It was great to hear stories about growing up in a whole different society. It was really hard coming up with interview questions to try to find out what the meaning of life is, because it’s not just as easy as saying “whats the meaning of life?” as you might imagine. If you would like to read my story, keep reading below! 

 As we sit at home on a lazy Sunday morning, watching TV, we quickly kick up conversation about how school is going. I begin to explain my two classes and, as I start to explain my current course, Journalism, she exclaims how she loves journalism. I explain my current assignment to her, how I’m supposed to talk with someone about the meaning with life, and she says “Okay”. I sit there for a moment wondering what just happened. She didn’t know that I was actually going to interview my grandpa the next day, but who am I to pass down a cool conversation about life?

        So, I awkwardly go to my room to grab my notebook and pen, and I can feel the excitement she has to start talking about the topic as I re-enter the room. Before I asked a question, she began telling stories, which I soon realized she had a lot of. She talks about growing up in a small town in Iowa; more importantly, how she moved to Chicago to go to nursing school. She spoke about her first experience in a big city: without her extremely conservative parents, she had no leash, no boundaries. Later she started to explain what gives her meaning in life, and she touched on how new opportunities and new sections of her life have really continuously changed what life means to her.

        The word travel is something she quickly begins to focus on. “Being able to see something unlike anything you’ve ever seen before at my age is an extraordinary opportunity”. She talks about how she doesn’t make big purchases, and how she still works to make money to go on trips and experience new things in her life. I begin to ask her about how her family had an affect on her life and, after another moment of silence, I finally get the answer I was looking for, her meaning of life. Upon the question of what life is, she breaks it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly. We go back and forth through these transitional periods in life. Life is constantly changing for us, and it’s how we adapt and live through these changes, is where we find meaning in our life.

        Towards the end of the conversation I notice how I still haven’t taken a photo that I’m happy with. That’s not to say I haven’t take one; I had about fifteen others to pick from, but none seemed right. It was when she stood up to grab something from the kitchen that I recognized a good moment to take a photo. If there were one thing you would be able to tell upon having a conversation with my grandma, it would be that she couldn’t stop moving or doing things. Even years after retirement, she still babysits, and gets out of the house to take the bus to a friends house, or goes to do her antique shopping in which she buys things, cleans/makes them better, then sells them for more. She’s always looking for experiences and opportunities in life. That is the person I see when I took this photo.

        In the background of this photo, you see the sunlight shining through our windows in the living room. If you notice what she’s wearing, you might question why she has a vest on, even though she is inside. That’s because even on a lazy Sunday morning she had already been out to run errands, went out for breakfast, and got back by the time I made it to the living room.

The aperture is wide, and the shutter speed is a little slow as you can see a little bit of blur as my grandma is moving. The photo does not focus on anything specific, but you are naturally drawn to the light coming from the window. I tried to capture the photo to show that she was on the move by capturing a majority of what was behind her. I did not expect the light to come through on the photo, but I think it really adds to the quality of the photo. This photo does a great job of summing up the personality of my grandma, on the move and active.


by JH

Woes of the College Banking Experience

January 23, 2014 in User Experience Design (UXD) by JH

For my first Action Project in User Experience Design (UXD), a class about thinking about the user while developing products. We were tasked with finding a solution to a problem in the college banking experience. My group created a powerpoint on how to streamline the process behind budgeting and tracking spending. I’ve learned a lot about how to create a product or tool for a specific audience and have gotten a brief overview of what the steps are that go into creating something. The most difficult part of this project was having to go out and interview random college students on the street. Myself and my group members ended up getting around 30 interviews and were able to come to a clear conclusion about what we wanted to do. If you would like to see our final product, don’t hesitate to check out our issuu down below!

by JH

Habitat for Humanity Alaska

December 19, 2013 in Community Service by JH

In the summer over my Junior Year, I knew I wanted to do community service.  I wasn’t sure where, and I wasn’t sure how, but I knew in my heart that it was necessary. I began looking for programs abroad with groups like Road Less Traveled, and Experience GLA, but I quickly found that all of the trips were going to be too expensive for me. Another factor was that a lot of these trips didn’t actually do much of the service I was looking for, many were a month long but only spend two or three weeks serving the community they were staying in. That’s when I found Habitat for Humanity and was instantly sold. They focused on service and team work, were reasonably priced, and had trips going everywhere in the world. 

I chose to go to Alaska. I’m not really quite sure why Alaska stuck out, but I’m glad that’s where I ended up going, as it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. While flying there, I started worrying, because I really didn’t know what to expect, and I had talked to my group leader; she said that the group was mostly adults with only a few minors (this is normal for Habitat trips).  Upon landing in Alaska, all of my worries quickly vanished while looking at the breathtaking scenery around me. When I met my Global Village Team (GV), all of my worries went away as I quickly realized how nice and sincere they all were. We spend the first full day together in a car with everyone going on a scenic tour around Anchorage, and it was amazing. Our next day we were briefed on the safety regulations and then got to work on building houses. It was a truly amazing experience getting to build these houses alongside the families living in them. The families were so open to talk about their lives and family history and why they wanted the houses, it was a humbling experience as, I got pretty close with one family in specific during the two weeks I was there. This whole experience has been life changing, and has given me a newfound love in community service, and I hope to do another trip with Habitat for Humanity over my senior break, and to continue doing service in college.

If you’d like to see the PhotoBlog I made when I got back from Alaska, click here — It consists of all of the pictures myself, and my GV Team took on the trip!