As an International Studies major at Towson University, Aimee Ernstberger was aware that sex trafficking took place in other countries.  What she didn’t know was how prevalent this issue is right in her own country; her own city.  This all changed when Alicia McDowell, Executive Director of Araminta Freedom Initiative, came to speak to her anthropology class back in 2012.


Photo provided by Aimee Ernstberger, Towson University graduate

Araminta is an organization in Maryland that seeks to engage in prevention, intervention and survivor services that bring healing and wholeness to trafficked individuals.  They accomplish this through education and equipping others to recognize ways that the culture distorts human dignity and worth.

“This was one of the most eye-opening classes,” Aimee said. 

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Don’t look away

When it comes to an issue as immense as human trafficking, citizens can often feel like there isn’t anything they can do to make a real difference.  Donating money to reputable organizations that work on the front lines is always welcome, but are there more personal ways to get involved?

William Wilberforce, the 18th Century abolitionist,  lobbied to end the slave trade. For almost two decades, he introduced anti-slavery motions in parliament.   Much like today, fellow citizens of his time often turned a blind eye to this issue.  Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Continue reading


If you hit triple sevens at the casino, you’ve won yourself a jackpot.

But not all jackpots are created equal.  Running enthusiast Michael Brooks is living out his own version of triple sevens.  In the next seven days, he will be running seven marathons in seven different cities at age 70.

Unlike a gambler running on luck, Brooks is running for a cause: to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, the only camp in our nation that provides year-round programs for  families that have children suffering from life threatening illnesses.

Over the last decade, running for charitable causes has been on the rise.  Most have heard of Race for the Cure and Relay for Life, two established races that raise funds for cancer research.   There are countless options if you are interested in running for a specific purpose, and you don’t have to be as ambitious as Michael Brooks.

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Every word matters

If you are a journalism student on any college campus, you were more than likely informed by a professor that The Associated Press Stylebook  would be your new BFF.

I mean, who else could you turn to in those perilous moments of trying to figure out if you should write out the number nine or simply use the “9” on the keyboard?  And what about formal titles?  They can be a killer.  Should  you always capitalize the word governor or president?  Just ask your BFF.


Image provided by Google Images

Recently, members of the American Copy Editors Society gathered for their annual conference in Portland, Oregon.  I’m sure this event is more fun than it sounds.  After all, attendees are among the first to hear about the changes being made to the AP Stylebook!

Since the average person may not know that such a book even exists, it is understandable that he/she would not comprehend how decisions and changes to this book actually have an effect on their life.  I admit that it sounds like a foolish notion even as I type the words.

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Sometimes you need a face


Abigail Smith, 14, at summer camp in 2015.  (photo by: Tracy E. Smith/TU Student)

Let me introduce you to my 14-year-old daughter, Abigail.  We call her “Abs” for short.  It suits her.  Like most girls her age, she likes to hang out with her friends and family.  She loves horses and dogs and posting funny pictures on Instagram.  Getting up in time for school is not an art she has mastered quite yet.

In many ways, she’s just like your younger sister, cousin, friend, or perhaps even your daughter if you’re an older college student like me. 

Sadly, my daughter Abigail is in the age bracket that most girls are typically targeted and sexually exploited.  That’s a frightening thought.   Continue reading