African Americans and Reality TV

North Carolina A&T State University students recently discussed the Read more

Does Music Make You Smart?

Does Music Really Help Students Study? By Takia Draughan JOMC Journal Read more

Eating Healthy in College

  Freshman 15: The Challenge of Healthy Eating in College By Read more

Health Fair Offers Substance Abuse Solutions

Health Fair Offers Substance Abuse Solutions By Kaleema Williams JOMC Journal Read more

African Americans and Reality TV

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North Carolina A&T State University students recently discussed the highs and lows of reality television and its impact on African Americans. The March 31 program was hosted by the JOMC Journal, an online news site produced in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at N.C.A&T. JOMC Journal contributor Kayla Jackson and Ashleigh Wilson captured the conversation.

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Does Music Make You Smart?

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Does Music Really Help Students Study?

By Takia Draughan

JOMC Journal Contributor

                                         Music is powerful. It can bring back memories and cause a person to feel different emotions.


Takia Draughan is a singer and songwriter.

There is a song for everything but is music OK to use while studying? Two college freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University recently discussed the pros and cons of studying with music.

Tierra Lancaster, an animal science major, says that she often uses music to calm her nerves while studying or writing papers.

However, Jamel Parker, a business major, says that music is distracting and he often gets more caught up in the song than his actual work.

Lancaster says, “Music helps me concentrate.”

Music is everywhere. Many students find it easier to focus when they have music playing because it occupies their brain.

Unlike Parker, Lancaster is not as easily distracted by a favorite song or its lyrics. “Most times I don’t even listen to the lyrics,” says Lancaster. “I just use the beat to help me keep a pace while I’m writing.”

Parker has a different view. “Music is distracting.” He says, “I end up singing instead of doing my work.”

Some students find it hard to multi-task in the way that it is necessary to play music and do work. Like Parker these students have to do things one at a time. They are not able to focus on the material.

“When I am studying, I have to ask my roommate to put in his headphones so that I can pay attention to my work,” says Parker

Kase Gregory was also interviewed on his opinion on the subject. Having been a student once and now a freshman studies professor at North Carolina A&T, he knows both sides of the situation at hand.

DRAUGHAN: In your personal experience as a student, was it easier to listen to music while studying or did you prefer silence?

Gregory: [I] couldn’t stand T.V., music, or anything. I needed complete silence.

DRAUGHAN: In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of using music to study?

Gregory: Cons are it can be a distraction. Anything that takes your mind away is a distraction. You can find yourself reading the same thing twice. The pros are it is relaxing and can help with memory. For example, if you have a test and you get to a question and you know you were listening to Rihanna when you were studying. Something said in the song might help remember the answer just because of the music.

DRAUGHAN: As a professor, do you see that students use music more or silence to study?

Gregory: Very seldom do I see a student not have headphones. I don’t know what they are listening to, but I’m sure it’s something.

Whether music should be played or not depends totally on the student. The study habits of the student will determine whether music works for them or not. Music can be beneficial. It just needs to be used for the right reasons. If it helps a person focus or keep their thoughts in order it is helpful. On the other hand, if a person is easily distracted, it is not in their best interest to use music. It is the responsibility of the student to know what they are capable of handling

Eating Healthy in College

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Kayla Harris created a farmer's market for healthier campus eating. Photo courtesy N.C. A&T.

Freshman 15: The Challenge of Healthy Eating in College

By Maya Whitlow

JOMC Journal Contributor

Salad, salad, salad, wrap, salad… With the repetitive and limited selection of healthy food options in college dining halls, it is no wonder that freshmen gain those dreaded 15 pounds by the end of the school year.

Salad has been the most prevalent choice of healthy eating for years, but most college students will agree that eating salads everyday can become monotonous.

Madeline Keefer, a sophomore biological engineering student at North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T), says “Salads can get very boring. It has the same taste and doesn’t have much substance. I need variety.”

Variety brings excitement to life, and without a variety of healthy options, healthy eating is almost impossible to sustain in college. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, the prevalence rate of obesity in college students has doubled over the past 10 years. College campuses fail to provide the proper environment for students to eat and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

At NCA&T, several students agree that campus does not provide many dining options are healthy, and the healthy choices are not appealing.

Wynton Johnson, a junior architectural engineering student, recently discussed the university’s food choices.

“A lot of the healthy food doesn’t taste good at all, so people go to the pizza line, the burger, or the Sit-In which isn’t very healthy,” said Johnson.

NCA&T provides salads, wraps, and sandwiches to go under the healthy foods category, but if one adds a calorie dense dressing or condiment, all the nutrition becomes null and void.

“To me, the salad bar isn’t that appealing,” says Jawari Boyd, a junior electrical engineering student. “The salad bar doesn’t have the options I want, and the dressings aren’t really tasty.”

Aside from the lack of healthy options on campus, college students often claim that they don’t have enough money to be spending on expensive, healthy food. For example, “Money often is an issue,” says James Brown, a junior supply chain management student at NCA&T. Being healthy costs money, and many college students don’t have the money to buy whole foods and healthy foods. It’s cheaper to be unhealthy.”

Students can typically purchase substantial meals for $1 to $3. However, students also maintain that buying groceries from the supermarket is more expensive. Cheese costs $2.99, and hamburger buns cost $1.87. Hamburgers cost $5.11.

So why do college students do instead? They make a quick and convenient decision and buy meals from fast food restaurants.

The proximity of fast food restaurants to campus also doesn’t help with college students’ decisions to eat healthy.

“We have Cook-out, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and all these fast food restaurants on Summit,” says Maya Earle, a sophomore computer science student at NCA&T. “They are so delicious, and if you really feel like it, you can walk to these places. The proximity does affect my decision because if I know I have a chance of getting that, then I’m most likely not going to eat something that’s healthier in the café or in Simply.”

Rather than complain about the food options on campus, Kayla Harris decided to take action and make a change by creating the Farmer’s Market Initiative.

Kayla Harris, a sophomore biology student at NCA&T, became the first student to establish a Farmer’s Market at an HBCU in efforts to bring healthier foods to campus and awareness to the food services that students want a diverse and larger selection of healthier foods on campus.

“I started the Farmer’s Market so students would have no reason to say that they do not have access or were not provided with healthy organic food options,” says Harris. Her farmer’s market initiative idea started in the English classroom of former NCA&T professor Deborah Barnes in September of 2012, but the actual market did not open until September of 2013. “Getting students involved and to come out and physically support the Farmer’s Market has been the largest obstacle to overcome,” explains Harris. The faculty and staff of NCA&T support Harris’ initiative.

“I hope that the Farmer’s Market will one day be able to have more relationships with local markets near campus and also be able to sell produce that is grown on the university farm,” Harris says.

The Farmer’s Market initiative has been “very successful”, according to Harris. “A lot of people know about the markets and since it is getting closer to spring time people are very interested in coming out. My first Framer’s Market in Greensboro had about 100 people, so I am trying to continue to keep those numbers up.” NCA&T now has a farmer’s market that provides healthy, organic food options, so college students at NCA&T do not have an excuse to say there are no healthy alternatives.

Although the Farmer’s Market is not on campus, the market is close enough so for who students that want to eat healthier can do so.

“I eat a lot healthier since I started the farmer’s market,” Harris says. “I do not eat wheat, and I also do not eat pork or beef. Since starting the farmer’s market, I do more research on different foods and what benefits they have for your body.”

Cooperative Extension, an organization that works in partnership with North Carolina State University, is now collaborating with NCA&T to celebrate the annual Small Farms Week. Small Farms Week took place in late Marchand incorporated workshops, demonstrations, and the announcement of the 2014 Small Farmer of the Year. Some activities to bring awareness to agriculture included demonstrations at A&T’s University Farm for middle-school students, the screening of a film on urban agriculture, and a guest lecture by Robin Emmons, a young, successful urban farmer. Programs like Small Farms Week and Harris’ Farmer’s Market at NCA&T are just a couple ways to provide awareness to healthier food options on college campuses.



Health Fair Offers Substance Abuse Solutions

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Health Fair Offers Substance Abuse Solutions

By Kaleema Williams

JOMC Journal Contributor


Health Fairs are one way to educate teens on the dangers of substance abuse.

North Carolina A&T, along with the Shiloh Baptist Church, hosted a Health Fair on Friday March 28 to educate students about effects of substance abuse and drugs. A&T’s Food and Nutritional Science program sponsored the event.

A&T’s Food and Nutritional Science Program and Shiloh Baptist Church started hosting these health fairs in 2012 for the community to benefit. The program has expanded since it began in 2012 with the focus on fitness for teens and young adults.

News reports constantly focus on the issue of substance abuse. In 2012, Guilford County had a total of 30.8 out of 33.8 percent of fatal car accidents.

“Educating young teens and adults about the dangers of substance abuse in any situation is vital to hopefully preventing future accidents” said a teacher from James Dudley High School. The prevention of the use of these substances can help save lives in the future and decrease the number of fatalities.

The health fair consisted of group discussions about substance abuse. Its main focus of alcohol and drugs allowed students from both A&T and various Junior and High schools to learn the facts.

“The programs were good overall,” says Khalima Burns, an A&T nursing student, “it was helpful to know more facts about these topics, although [students in] my age group should already know these facts.”

In some cases, it has been shown that young adults abuse substances more than any other age group. Majority of these drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and even prescription drugs.

Representatives from A&T’s Counseling Services also handed out pamphlets about the topics of substances abuse. One pamphlet stated the standard drinking levels for various types of alcohols and listed “safe” alcohol amounts.

During group discussions, students asked questions that included whether the percentages of substance abuse victims were higher in Northern states than Southern states. In 2011, the percentage of high school students who drank alcohol before the age of 13 in North Carolina was only 2 percent behind the total amount in the United States. On the other hand, the state of Massachusetts was 5 percent behind the average amount in the United States.

In the North Carolina Drug Control Update report, the average number of people who use illicit drugs in the United States is 8.02 percent; North Carolina almost met the average coming in with 7.75 percent of residents admitting to using illicit drug. With North Carolina nearly making the national average, it shows how much of an issue substance abuse is in the state.

Also, according to the update, marijuana and cocaine are the leading drugs in primary treatment admissions in North Carolina. The number of residents between 5,800 and 9,300 have reported an episode where they have had to be admitted in a drug treatment facility for having dependency on marijuana and cocaine.

More recently in October of 2013, North Carolina was reported to be the 30th state with a high rate of drug morality; the rate is “11.4 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities”. According to the Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic report, the number of prescription drug overdose in 2013 out beat the number of mortality from heroin and cocaine. It is alarming to see how medicine people receive from their doctors and over the counter can be just as addictive as the more hard hitting drugs.

Prescription drugs have also become a problem in North Carolina. Along with the higher rate of deaths, the misuse of prescription, painkillers, cost $53.4 billion a year in lost productivity, not including the misuse of other prescription drugs. It has also been reported that only one in every 10 Americans receive some kind of health treatment when told about a drug abuse case.

Substance abuse does not just lead to death in certain cases, but can also include those who abuse it to be arrested losing their reputation. Two doctors in the Asheboro and Eden areas had their licenses suspended for substance abuse issues. Dr. Jeffery Curtis Hooper and Dr. Meindert Albert Niemeyer were suspended by the North Carolina Medical Board. Dr. Jeffery Curtis Hooper was suspended on the grounds of relapsing into substance abuse. Dr. Meindert Albert Niemeyer was suspended on the grounds of “not documenting why he prescribed controlled substances to three patients” according to the Greensboro News and Record.

The greatest take away from the health fair was that substance abuse is a real issue that does deserve special attention. By informing teens and young adults early, prevention can be started to where the rate and percentages in North Carolina and even in the whole United States can decrease.




Aggie Fest 2014 Cooks Up Fun

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Aggie Fest 2014 Photo and Video by Alexis Wainwright

Healthy policies deliver health equity

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Panelists during the April 2014 NABJ Health Policies, Health Equity Conference in Washington, D.C.

On April 10-12, six journalism students from North Carolina A&T State University attended a series of panel discussions focused on Health Policy and Health Inequities in communities of color. The three-day conference was hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists in the Barbara Jordan Conference Center at the Kaiser Foundation in Washington, D.C. A&T multimedia journalist Ashleigh Wilson reports how the conference provided attendees information about effectively covering the impact of the Affordable Care Act and numerous health issues facing America’s under-served communities.

Aggie Fest 2014

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Aggie Fest 2014. Photo by Alexis Wainwright.

Aggie Fest 2014

By Kelene Clark

JOMC Journal Contributor

            Every spring semester, at North Carolina A&T, students and people all around the world are eager for one of the most exciting weeks: Aggie Fest! Yearly, there are different events that take place which excites everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities. Whether it’s a fashion show, cookout, or concert, you are sure to have a good time. I recently caught up with SUAB president, Tamira Williams, to get an inside scoop on what will be going down at this years’ Aggie Fest.


Kelene: What is the date for this years’ Aggie Fest?

Williams: Aggie Fest will be April 7-12.

Kelene: What event can we expect to see during this week?

Williams: We are still finalizing all the events as of right now but, you can expect a lot of fun such as day time events, block parties, dorm step off, etc.. The full schedule will be out to the public at the end of this week or beginning of next.

Kelene: What’s going to make this year’s Aggie Fest better than the last?

Williams: Aggie Fest was gone for 10 years at one point in time, and now that it’s back we’re just trying to make sure that all of the events we have are fun for the students. We have a wellness wheel for the whole week and also a cultural fair that we would like all the students to take part in. Most importantly, we want our Aggies to have fun fun fun!

Kelene: How much money does Aggie fest bring into A&T?

Williams: Aggie fest is run by student activities and the special events committee program which means we try to focus more on events and activities for the students. All the money that is made goes toward more activities for students.  Aggie fest is not a revenue generating event, it’s just something for the students to do in the spring time.

Kelene: What is SUAB looking forward to the most during Aggie Fest?

Williams: We’re looking forward to the whole week overall, we’re excited for everything! SUAB just wants to make sure that the students are pleased overall and that our job was well done.


Aggie Cheerleaders

After my exclusive interview with Williams, I had an interview with a sophomore student, Tevin Mcgill, who has been excited for the upcoming Aggie fest.

Kelene: What are you expecting to see at this years’ Aggie Fest?

McGill: I’m expecting, for one, the block party of course because last years’ was so fun. And second, I’m expecting a big performer to show up for a concert.

Kelene: Which event would you like to see NOT happen, that happened at last years’ Aggie Fest?

McGill: I wasn’t into the fashion show to much so if they take that out, that’ll be good.

Kelene: What is something new that you would like to see at this years’ Aggie Fest?

McGill: I think they should come up with a field day, you know, like we had in elementary but games that are more for college students, like quiz bowls or races. Just something that everyone can compete in.

 Many people call Aggie Fest the “mini homecoming” because of all the activities and fun.  After my interview with Williams and McGill, I see that this year’s Aggie Fest is expected to be one heck of a time. Let’s just hope it’s what everyone expects. 

Human Race Walk

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 Rain failed to stop volunteers from throughout Greensboro, N.C. who showed up at the Greensboro Coliseum March 29 for The Volunteer Center’s 20th birthday celebration and “The Human Race” charity walk. As Ashleigh Wilson reports, two student organizations from North Carolina A&T State University took part in the celebration and walk. Photo by Ziris Savage. Slideshow by Ashleigh Wilson. Click the photo view a slideshow of the walk.


Life on a Minimum Wage … Barely

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Life on a Minimum Wage … Barely

By Debora Timms

JOMC Journal Contributor

            Brittany Chavis is a working mother earning minimum wage. She stood out in the cold Tuesday, March 18 with a small but vocal group representing NC Raise Up.

Chanting “We can’t survive on $7.25,” the group is working to call attention to the struggles faced by minimum wage workers in the fast food industry.

Chavis’ four children range in age from 3-years-old to 9-years-old. Her job at Burger King, she says, leaves her “barely scraping the money to get what they need … for necessities” and she is reliant on government assistance to survive. Chavis’ plight is similar to thousands of minimum wage workers across the nation.

President Barack Obama visited Central Connecticut State University this month to continue his push to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10. He stressed that Americans who work fulltime should not continue to live in poverty.  Calling it a central premise of America, Obama said it was good business sense to “build an economy that works for everybody, and not just some.”

Locally, this sentiment was echoed by Rep. Alma Adams, who also spoke at NC Raise Up’s protest. “Just working hard is not enough, especially if you don’t earn enough,” she said.


Adams believes that support for raising the minimum wage is support for families across North Carolina. “Raising the minimum wage will strengthen workers. Strong workers strengthen families. Strong families strengthen communities. Strong communities have strong businesses,” Adams said, adding, “Everybody wins.”

Politicians vary on the issue, but most Democratic candidates support the initiative. In North Carolina, raising the minimum wage may well play a pivotal role in deciding this year’s state elections, with an Elon University poll showing strong public support for the move.

In December last year, The Economic Policy Institute released an updated analysis on the effect the Fair Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the minimum wage in increments to $10.10/hour by 2015, might have if enacted. Its report showed this level would allow a single, full-time minimum wage job to keep a family of three above the 2014 poverty line set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This reflects what minimum wage jobs provided throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Nationally, the Congressional Budget Office estimates raising the federal minimum wage will lift the earnings of 16.5 million workers. It would indirectly impact another eight million workers as employers adjust their internal pay scales.

Allan M. Freyer, public policy analyst for the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, says about 753,000 current minimum wage workers, as well as an additional one million workers who earn above the current minimum, would see their wages increase in North Carolina. “Poverty wage jobs are the fastest growing sector” in the state and this boost in the income of minimum wage workers would also boost the local economy, said Freyer during a recent interview.

Not everyone agrees with this assessment. North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis called the move a “dangerous idea” and worried that setting an “artificial threshold” would drive up costs and ultimately harm jobs.

Dr. Mark L. Burkey, a North Carolina A&T State University economics professor,  said in an interview on campus, “both sides have data analysis to latch onto” and “there’s some truth in the middle.” Burkey points out there is a valid concern about the poorest among us and good intention in wanting to protect people. However, “you can’t convince me that by forcing a business owner to pay more he’ll hire more,” said Burkey.

Freyer disagrees. Workers with more money to spend will increase business’s customer base and income. The resulting economic growth will more than compensate for increased wages. Freyer cites another benefit. Happier, better paid workers are more likely to stay at the same job. Reducing employee turnover will lower business costs normally incurred to hire and train new staff. These productivity savings are important. So are higher skills levels because, he says, “skills are the heart of how you compete in the economy.”

Carolyn Smith is the State Director for Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. She prefers to discuss it in terms of “a fair wage for fair work.” In North Carolina, Smith said when interviewed, 18 percent of people live below the poverty line. Costs continue to rise even though the minimum wage has not increased since 2009.

“Paying minimum wages to workers,” she adds, “is keeping them in poverty.”

Smith believes another key to improving the lives of minimum wage workers is to support the right to collective bargaining. Workers need someone to speak for them and to have their right to organize and collectively bargain recognize. This is not the case in states with right-to-work laws like North Carolina. Smith says cases of wage theft (employees being made to work off-the-clock) and issues regarding scheduling could be improved if employee’s right to unionize were recognized in North Carolina.

“Businesses are able to pay membership dues to the Chamber of Commerce who then organizes and lobbies on their behalf,” says Smith. “So why can’t workers have someone to speak up for them?”

Tyre Shoffner also spoke out. The North Carolina A&T State University student is a junior majoring in agribusiness. He also works for McDonald’s. Shoffner illustrated how little the minimum wage works out to by breaking it down to its worth per minute – just 12 cents.

“It’s a real struggle,” he said, to keep up with school while trying to earn enough to cover his bills and student loans.

Shoffner and Chavis said that typically schedules are given out only a few days in advance and are subject to change on short notice. Chavis is “not allowed to work more than 25 hours in a week,” and getting a second job would be hard. Without a set schedule, her hours vary week to week.

The Rev. Nelson Johnson is pastor of Faith Community Church and executive director of Beloved Community Center of Greensboro. He believes raising wages is critical, and encourages everyone in the community to stand in support.

“The current minimum wage,” he said, “is far from sufficient.”

Johnson added that it “diminished the dignity of a person” to work, yet still have to ask for public assistance just to survive.

Internship Vs. Co-Op

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Tips to Obtain an Internship or Co-Op

By Kimbery Fields

Managing Editor

The JOMC Journal

As the semester winds down, many students are exploring their options with jobs, internships and co-ops. What is the difference? Where should you go? Why should you obtain one of the three?

Students hear the words, but not all students know the difference between a co-op or internship.

Pamela Basheer

Pamela Basheer, assistant director of experiental learning, works in the Office of Career Service  at North Carolina A&T where she has assisted students  for 11 years with internship and co-op opportunities. Basheer says that while there are a few differences between a co-op and an internship, the two main differences are length and income. A co-op usually lasts six months and is paid, while an internship is an average of three months and can be either paid or non-paid.

Regardless if you choose an internship or a co-op, Basheer says they are both very important as it allows you to “test-drive” a career along with obtaining work experience and becoming more competitive in the post-graduation job market.

“Through these experiences students can clarify their career interests, develop professional skills and strengthen self-confidence,” said Basheer.” Internships enhance classroom learning and provide students with references and contacts in their field.”

So how do you know if an internship or co-op is right for you? Does this apply to your major?

Yes. Basheer says internships and co-ops can benefit all majors seeing as they provide valuable career-related experience, professional development, self-confidence, a medium to apply classroom lessons to real life, make students more marketable and help build a network or professionals among other benefits.

No one wants to go into their career field blind let alone an internship or co-op. Basheer provided a few tips to help navigate you from obtaining an internship or co-op to possibly turning that position into your profession.

  • Clarify your goals in order to maximize your experience.
  • Research companies or industries you are interested in including the location, housing options, transportation and income or lack thereof.
  • Know if an internship or co-op is a degree requirement.
  • Develop a professional resume.
  • Network and stay in contact with faculty, staff, friends and join professional networks.
  • Set aside time each day or week to apply for opportunities and remember the application requirements and deadlines.
  • Search for opportunities at networking events, career conferences and fairs, information sessions, websites such as and and also follow employers on social media including LinkedIn.
  • If you are contacted for an interview, research the interviewer and employer, participate in mock interviews, and send thank you letters immediately after the interview.
  • If you secure the internship or co-op, send another thank you letter and state that you understand all the requirements like start date and work schedule, let the Office of Career Service know you have accepted the internship or co-op and enroll in the correct co-op course, and in order to receive academic credit, make sure you talk to your advisor or department chair.
  • During your internship, it is important to remain professional at all times, have a positive attitude, always do your best and take initiative.

Just because the internship or co-op is over, the relationship you have established with coworkers or employers do not have to end. Basheer says that a week before students leave their site, they should meet with their supervisor and thank them for the opportunity and talk about how much you have learned from this experience. Once the student is home, Basheer recommends sending a formal thank you letter reiterating your appreciation.

To help get you started, the Office of Career Services provides a variety of interdisciplinary programs, services and resources to help prepare A&T students for a successful career including personal and professional development. Some of those services are a career assessment test, career fair, counseling, etiquette dinners, a job posting database, newsletters, on-campus interviews, resume development and workshops. For more information visit the Office of Career Services website at and be sure to log-in to AggieLink to take advantage of all the services the office has to offer.