Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2014

Schif e xplored the series as a narrative art form. He was particularly excited that his students could relate in the moment rather than being culturally removed as they are in the study of other great works of literature. Jones engaged his group in the chemistry lab, where they learned to perform drug analyses. Students were given an unknown “white powder” consisting of one or more of the following chemical compounds: caf eine, lidocaine, aspirin and naproxen. He then took them through the analytical process so they could determine the identity and quantity of the drug(s) in their unknown powder. “Many of these students aren’t even science majors, but we gave them an authentic lab experience that introduced them to forensic drug analysis with a focus on the chemistry and techniques used in modern laboratories,” Jones said. For her part, Fryling taught students about drug laws, drug cartels, examining why certain drugs are illegal, how drug crimes have af ected the modern-day prison population; she even delved into attorney ethics. “Certainly ‘Just call Saul’ (the character of attorney Saul Goodman) has some issues,” Fryling said. In her breakout session, students participated in a mock trial – a chance to create their own justice since the Breaking Bad storyline never reached the courtroom phase. For those students who had watched Breaking Bad , the course was a welcome opportunity to reconstruct some of their favorite moments and learn more about the nuances that contributed to its popularity. For others, it was an opportunity to immerse themselves in this new classic. *Season Four, Episode Six: The quote in full: “You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!”

RJ Mitte pictured with faculty members Ken Schif , Ph.D.; Tina Fielding Frylling, J.D.; and Clint Jones, Ph.D.


OVERCOMING ADVERSITY Students – including those in the “Breaking Down Breaking Bad ” class – packed the performing arts center when R.J. Mitte visited campus Sept. 23 as part of the Mercyhurst Student Government Distinguished Speaker Series. Mitte co-starred in Breaking Bad as Walter White Jr., the teenage son of cancer patient and high school science teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston). Like his character, Mitte has cerebral palsy, a permanent neurological disorder that can af ect body movement, muscle control and coordination, and balance. Although Mitte’s cerebral palsy is a milder form, he spent much of his childhood learning how to overcome the challenges posed by his disorder. Drawing from his personal experiences, Mitte travels the country as an activist and celebrity speaker inspiring others. He spoke at Mercyhurst on “Overcoming Adversity: Turning a Disadvantage into an Advantage.” The talk was part of 2014-15 programming that explores “Confronting Injustice,” an academic theme that challenged the Mercyhurst community to address and refec t on injustice in the world while also learning about resources that exist to confront injustice. Mitte is involved with several national organizations that raise awareness about equality and diversity. Currently, he is a youth spokesperson for the National Disability Institute; he advocates for actors with disabilities as a spokesperson for the campaign “I AM PWD” (a tri-union campaign sponsored by SAG, AFTRA and Actors’ Equity); and he is a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy.


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