Week of March 4, 2015

Steve Carell Audition Tape

Perhaps we can consider the audition to be an interview in the world of Hollywood. Well, in this tape, our beloved alumnus, Steve Carell, knocks his audition for "Anchorman" out of the park. As you know, he was hired. Watch and enjoy.

Ask a Fellow: The Stipend Program

Have a question for our fellows? Send your inquiries to with "Ask a Fellow" as the subject line. Your question could be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

This week's question: "I've been offered an internship, but I'm hesitant to accept it due to the lack of compensation. Does Denison offer any type of stipend program?"

Answer: Due to the generosity of our great alumni, the CE&D office is fortunate to be able to offer a stipend program. However, this program is only available to students who are accepting unpaid internships to help cover some expenses. To find out more about the program and to apply for a stipend, access the application via DU Link. The app is up right now under the title "Stipend Application, Denison Internship Program."

7 Ways to Get Rid of Pre-Interview Nerves

1. Meditate & Breathe

2. Eat a Banana

3. Exercise

4. Visualize Success

5. Do a Power Pose

6. Smile Like You Mean It

7. Practice

Summer Research Spotlight:
Lisa Torio ('15)

Name: Lisa Torio ('15)

Major(s): Philosophy, Political Science

Department of Research: English

Research Advisor: Dr. Jack Shuler

Title of Research: The Forgotten -- Life after Death Row for the Wrongly Convicted

Can you provide a general rundown of your research topic?

The goal of my summer research was to shed light on the issue of wrongful conviction by sharing the gripping stories of death row survivors. I wanted to share their stories of how they cope with the lasting impacts of wrongful conviction, of how they strive to rebuild their lives after years on death row, of how prosecutors and state officials are seldom punished for misconduct, and their stories of how society fails to grapple with the unthinkable truth of wrongful conviction. The research project consists of four stories on the lives of Ray Krone, Joe D'Ambrosio, Damon Thibodeaux and Dale Johnston based on my interviews with them.

How did you end up choosing this topic for your research?

I was one of twelve students invited to a dinner reception with Sister Helen Prejean, who was visiting Denison to share her lifelong work in anti-death penalty activism. I ended up sitting next to Joe, a tall, built man with a bald head and a goatee. I'd never seen him before and he had an intense look about him, but we started talking. Turns out, Joe D'Ambrosio was one of three exonerees who came to see Sister Helen speak. Joe was wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn't commit and spent twenty-two years -- most of his adult life -- on death row. He told me about the excruciating appeals process, the corruption and deceit of his prosecutors, the mistreatment of inmates, the lack of public recognition, the loss of his sister, the loneliness of his jail cell, and hopelessness. And even after his exoneration, he told me he couldn't get a job because of his time in prison and hadn't gotten any compensation from the state. Joe's story stuck with me. I wanted to know more about the lives of exonerated men. And as I began to investigate, I was shocked by the lack of literature on the subject. So I thought, hey, I should conduct my own research.

How was the research process conducted? How much collaboration was there between you and your advisor?

I actually started out wanting to conduct a survey on a pool of exonerees across the country and compile a list of issues regarding life after death row. As a Political Science major, I was used to collecting and analyzing survey data – I knew how to identify quantifiable patterns in anecdotal accounts. But my approach to the topic of wrongful conviction changed when I started receiving responses to the survey. As I talked to exonerees, I began to recognize a disconnect between the statistics and the individual stories of the exonerees. Numbers tell us that 150 Americans have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated since 1973. But its the stories that tell us that there are people behind those numbers. And working with Jack, he helped me realize the power of stories. So I spent the summer writing stories about the four men. I had never really written non-fiction pieces or journalistic work so Jack guided me along the way. He's awesome.

Did your research require you to analyze law documents or interview current or former inmates? Did the nature of the research itself teach you some valuable skills along the way?

Hours of phone and skype conversations with exonerees. I also talked to anti-death penalty activists and a legal scholar. I looked through pretty crazy court cases and compensation statutes. All of this was new territory for me and I learned a lot along the way. For instance, the task of contacting exonerees proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. As soon as I began my research, I realized that many exonerees still struggled with today’s modes of communication. Many of them didn't have e-mail addresses and had only erratic access to a phone. Being released from prison is like coming out of a time machine – a smartphone is basically a device from the future for those who had been locked away for decades. So, I had to learn to contact different NGOs and track people down. Plus, given the trauma that comes along with being on death row, there were exonerees I reached out to who did not want to recount their years behind bars.

As President of Amnesty International here at Denison, you were able to bring in Ronald Keine, a former death row inmate who was found wrongfully convicted after 2 years of being in prison. What was the purpose of hosting this event? How did it go? Was Keine involved in your research?

I actually wanted to invite Ron Keine because I interviewed him over the summer, but didn't include him in my research. His case was long and complicated so I thought it'd be great if he came to share his experiences with students in person. The purpose of hosting such events is to give students a chance to meet people we otherwise wouldn't have the chance to. And I hope this leads to more anti-death penalty activism against students. As residents of Ohio, we actually have power to change the system.

What are your plans for the future?

No plans yet. I've applied to a couple of journalism fellowships. So if anyone reading this wants to offer me a job, that would be awesome. But in all seriousness, the summer research program has really helped me figure out what I want to do after college. I've always wanted to do something related to social justice, but this project kindled in me a passion for journalism and story-writing. And being a PoliSci/Philosophy major, I thought I'd never get the chance to write non-fiction stories. So I'm a fan of the Young Scholars program because it allows you to conduct research in other fields. You never know where summer research can take you.

When You Blank On An Interview Question