May 4, 2016

A collection of closeup photographs taken in Vermont. I used a 100mm lens to capture the small details of life in these images.

A Collection of rural and urban landscapes, demonstrating the long term conflict between humans and nature.

Photography is often used to promote the sale of a product, subjects need to display quality through precision placement to appeal to their audience.

Portrait photography has the ability to convey emotion and a direct connection with the viewer.

These landscape photographs were taken in Pittsford, Vermont and are part of a numbered and signed limited edition set.

Limited Edition Covered Bridge Prints
Spring Collection
  • 80/100 Available
  • 8"x10"
  • Signed
  • Numbered
  • Beautiful Vermont Landscape Photography
  • Printed and Framed in the United States

During my senior year at Stafford Technical Center I worked on this 36 page publication as Lead Designer and with the help of my peers and local industry professional David Townsend this brochure was sent to every household in Rutland County where potential students lived. Thousands were printed and are still in circulation.

This stationary was designed to update Stafford Technical Center’s publications with their style change and updated logo. Transparent logo on 8.5 x 11 and envelope do not show in photograph. 

This was a senior project that was showcased at the Chaffee Arts Center in Rutland, Vermont. This game includes all tokens, chance and property cards , money, and board.

A 2-sided trifold brochure designed to have a die-cut through the four panels of the window on the front to be given away as promotional material for the National Grange.

3D Design created using colored paper, these projects were created during my form and color class at Champlain College.

Using a variety of mediums such as pencil, charcoal, pastel, marker, and paint to demonstrate my illustrative capabilities.

Elijah Falker


The Lack of Reliable High-Speed Internet Access Isolates Rural Vermonters from Global Communication, Information, and Prosperity


Communication and technology have advanced throughout history, opening access to knowledge and commerce throughout the world (Garbade). In our current global society and economy, it is essential to have access to the internet if communities and businesses are going to succeed (Akridge). Not having this access denies people vast amounts of information and collective intelligence, and the sharing of ideas (Frenkiel). There have been situations where the lack of communication has been life-threatening during natural disasters, such as during Tropical Storm Irene (Traska). Vermonters currently do not have the reliable high-speed internet that is necessary for its citizens to thrive (BroadBandNow). The internet is an important tool that citizens can use to communicate with their elected officials (Pole). Some communities are attempting to resolve this problem themselves (Noyes). Others feel it is a problem that the government should solve for its citizens (Garneau).

Around 5,000 years ago, humans developed the ability to communicate through written word. Until this point in history we were limited to communicating with each other through visual and verbal communication. Writing allowed communication with people who were not within shouting distance. When modern printing was invented, communications could be distributed to the masses through books and newspapers. People could communicate one-to-one by mail service (Garneau). Until the invention of the telegraph, which was the first electronic form of communication, correspondence took as long as the journey between two physical points. It could take weeks or even months for news to travel. This lag time had a significant impact on markets as any long-distance trading relied on pricing that was outdated, and therefore created huge price differentials in different communities, even if the supply and demand was the same. Once traders were able to communicate in a faster manner via the telegraph, a national marketplace was established that people could rely on as being the same for all participants across the country. When the Transatlantic cable was laid, a literal cable that ran across the Atlantic Ocean, a price-stable marketplace was established between America and Europe and global trading entered a new era (Garbade). For about the next 100 years, new technology developed to bring new forms of communication. The telephone, which allowed two-way verbal communication between individuals followed by the radio which was able to broadcast verbal communications to the masses. The television which allowed the broadcast of sound and imagery. However, it wasn’t until the invention of the computer that communication took the largest leap in history since the development of writing (Frenkiel).

All these advancements in communication affected transfer of knowledge. Starting with knowledge transfer between family or village members, broadening to people who shared your spoken language, and then to those who could read your language. There were textbooks at schools, and libraries for communities but knowledge could only travel as fast as written material could be physically delivered to people. Radio and television made it so that knowledge could be transmitted to the masses instantaneously through documentaries, or educational channels like NPR and PBS. But computers and cell phones are what allowed everyone to access all knowledge all the time (Frenkiel). Changes in communication also affected commerce. Starting with barter for goods and services by word of mouth regarding who had what. Currency was developed around the same time as written communication. Markets were developed. Government currency could be printed and used throughout a country or region where everyone understood and accepted its value. Print, radio, and television allowed advertising to reach people who could purchase products locally, or order by mail. With the invention of electronics, money could be transmitted across great distance by wire through banks, or companies like Western Union. Businesses were able to accept credit cards instead of cash or checks, and then able to accept them online through their own website or online markets such as eBay or Amazon. Non-government based electronic currencies have now been formed, like Bitcoin (Garneau). The invention of computers brought its own new forms of communication, such as email, blogs and memes. It allowed interactive communication between groups of people gathered in cyberspace from all over the world. The innovation of cell phones allowed individuals to send text messages and make voice calls, but most importantly the main function of the cell phone was to become a pocket-sized-computer, allowing communication with anyone in the world, at any time, any place you were, if you had service (Frenkiel).

Historically, it has always taken longer for people in rural areas to get new forms of technology. Access to new delivery methods of written and electronic communication has always started in more populated areas. It is easier and less expensive per person to bring new technologies to areas where the population is denser. This puts rural communities at a disadvantage socially and economically and is equivalent to communities being without telephone service fifty years ago (Noyes). It is difficult for producers, distributors, and businesses to compete in a global, or even national, economy without reliable and high-speed internet. Internet is important to businesses because it allows them to purchase supplies for their operations in a more efficient and affordable manner than by traditional means. Especially when an urgent matter requires a purchase that may not be available locally. Even if supplies are available locally, there may only be one supplier in the area and no competition for pricing. It is also important for local businesses to have reliable high-speed internet to sell and market their goods and services. Online services can be offered from anywhere and offers rural residents the opportunity to work remotely from home for companies across the globe, but only if they have reliable high-speed internet to offer their service in a time efficient manner. Businesses and farmers who produce goods can sell and ship worldwide directly to the producers, and new markets are opened to producers and distributors. Online auctions are an advantage, especially to agriculturally based businesses (Akridge).

Ellen Garneau is the elected Flora, and member of the Information Committee, of Marble Valley Grange in Pittsford, VT (Garneau). The Grange is a national organization that focuses on improving the quality of life in rural communities and has local chapters throughout Vermont. As stated on their website, the Grange recognizes that lack of reliable high-speed internet puts students at a disadvantage, as well as businesses and farmers who are trying to survive in a global marketplace. The Grange was instrumental in bringing US Mail service to people in rural parts of the country because the lack thereof put those communities at a great disadvantage. The Grange understands that those communities are at the same disadvantage now not having reliable high-speed internet (Infrastructure). Ms. Garneau has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with Minors in History and Comparative Religion. She recently travelled to Israel where internet is scarce and unreliable. Her experiences there reminded her of how some people in rural Vermont cope with the lack of reliable high-speed internet. Often there was no internet available in Israel. Individual businesses rarely had access, so they could not process credit card payments, but periodically they were able to process the transaction at the store next door which had access. Using the internet in cafes to communicate with family members proved to be slow and unreliable as well, due to the number of users on the connection. Many of the stores that did have access discouraged people from standing around just to use the internet, and if you stepped a foot outside their door the connection was usually lost. One store even had a sign that read “Don’t ask us about Wifi!” If the store owners let you use their internet is was incredibly slow and often cut mid-communication, which resulted in information being lost. To send a message or picture through Facebook took about 5 minutes. During that time the chances of losing the service was very high, then you had to start over (Garneau).

The percentage of Vermonters who have access to internet speeds of 25 megabytes per second or higher is 94.6%. This means that 5.4% do not even have access to internet at that speed or have no access at all. Approximately 34,000 people in Vermont do not have access to internet at speeds higher than 25 megabytes per second and an additional 8,000 people do not have any wired internet access available to their homes. Only 14.8% of Vermont’s population have access to internet at speeds of 1 gigabit, and only 18.1% have access to fiber-optic service which can offer faster speeds over longer distances compared to copper cables (BroadBandNow). In the 2011-2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, libraries in Vermont reported that only 63.9% had adequate connection speed, with 12.5% having less than 1.5 megabytes per second compared to 6.9% nationwide, and only 17.4% having more than 30 megabytes per second compared to 22.3% nationwide. 74.7% of Vermont libraries reported that they were the only free access to computers or the internet in their communities, and only 51% reported that there were always sufficient numbers of computers available when needed (American).

Thirteen towns in central Vermont are attempting to form a communications union district to bring high-speed internet to their communities. Barre City, Barre Town, Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, Middlesex, Montpelier, Northfield, Plainfield, Roxbury, Williamstown and Worcester would come together to share a community owned internet service. Some residents currently only have DSL service which is inadequate for their needs. The fiber-optic internet they hope to install would give residents gigabit speed, compared to around 10 megabytes per second at best with DSL (Noyes). Others think the cost should fall only on the Local, State or Federal government as other forms of infrastructure do. Like roads, schools, libraries and police, the internet should be a necessity for all citizens to succeed together as a nation. Reliable high-speed internet is needed in today’s world. Without it people and communities have shown to fall behind. When part of our state or country struggles, we all struggle as a whole (Garneau). Jeremy Hanson, a Berlin Selectman and supporter of the project, explains that the internet provider would be community owned. The project would not use any tax money and the towns would not be liable for any loans that the communications union district obtained. Installation would be paid for by the members who would receive the service. He could not however, say how much the service would cost (Noyes).

From a political perspective, reliable high-speed internet allows constituents to have more communication with their representatives. Since 2002, sixty-eight million Americans have used the internet to contact their public officials, file taxes and apply for government benefits. The internet allows citizens to be more involved in politics, especially national politics, by being more informed about the issues, contributing to candidates they support, and organizing grassroots lobbying efforts. Ninety percent of Vermont State Legislators use email for communication with constituents. Eighty-three percent said email was helpful in gauging the policy preferences of their constituents. They also reported that they responded more than two times faster to constituents’ emails than communication that they received through the US Mail, which had to be delivered in person. Access to their Representatives in Vermont means that citizens can communicate with them more efficiently, and that they can affect legislation that will in turn affect their daily lives (Pole). Several Years ago, August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused a substantial amount of damage across Vermont. Emergency services learned that the towns with the best internet connections were able to allocate resources more efficiently during the disaster and during recovery. Following, the Vermont Digital Economy Project was created with a 1.8-million-dollar disaster relief grant from the US Government. VDEP used this money to restore and upgrade local libraries in 50 of the 60 damaged communities, as well as developed programs that helped computer illiterate folks with accessing email and other services provided by the World Wide Web (Traska).

It is essential for rural Vermonters to have access to reliable high-speed internet if their communities and businesses are going to succeed in society and economically (Akridge). Despite obstacles, a solution must be enacted because not having this access denies people the connection to information and tools that they need to thrive (Noyes). “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions, and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones." – Niccolo Machiavelli  (Frenkiel).

Work Cited

Akridge, Jay T. “E-Business in the Agricultural Input Industries.” Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25, no. 1, 2003, pp. 3–13. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1349859. FEB 16, 2019.

“American Libraries.” STATE SUMMARY DATA, American Library Association, 2012, https://www-jstor-org.cobalt.champlain.edu/stable/26197649?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents. pp. 89, FEB 16, 2019.

BroadBandNow. INTERNET ACCESS IN VERMONT. BroadBandNow. https://broadbandnow.com/Vermont. MAR 2, 2019.

Frenkiel, Richard. A Brief History of Mobile Communications. Rutgers, http://www.winlab.rutgers.edu/~narayan/Course/Wireless_Revolution/vts%20article.pdf. MAR 2, 2019.

Garbade, Kenneth D., and William L. Silber. “Technology, Communication and the Performance of Financial Markets: 1840-1975.” The Journal of Finance, vol. 33, no. 3, 1978, pp. 819–832. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2326479. FEB 16, 2019.

Garneau, Ellen. Personal interview. 1 MAR, 2019.

“Infrastructure.” National Grange of The Order of Patrons of Husbandry, 2016, www.nationalgrange.org/infrastructure/. FEB 16, 2019.

Noyes, Amy Kolb. “13 Central Vermont Communities Look To Bring High-Speed Internet To Region.”, VPR, FEB 16, 2018, digital.vpr.net/post/13-central-vermont-communities-look-bring-high-speed-internet-region#stream/0. FEB 16, 2019.       

Pole, Antoinette J. “E-Mocracy: Information Technology and the Vermont and New York State Legislatures.” State & Local Government Review, vol. 37, no. 1, 2005, pp. 7–24. JSTORwww.jstor.org/stable/4355383. MAR 2, 2019.         

Traska, Maria R. “Vermont Libraries Weather the Digital Literacy Storm.” American Libraries, vol. 46, no. 5, 2015, pp. 18–19., www.jstor.org/stable/24604096. FEB 16, 2019.          

Elijah Falker


The Preservation of Unions is Critical to Workers’ Rights

            Prior to the formation of labor unions, workers had no guaranteed rights and were at the mercy and disposal of employers to determine wages, benefits, and working conditions. Supply and demand were the primary factor that determined what employers offered their employees, and because of the large number of immigrants that came to the United States during the Industrial Revolution, the employers had the upper hand in offering lower wages and not offering benefits, forcing workers to work 16-hour days. Without the preservation of labor unions, workers would lose the power they have to preserve the worker’s rights that have been established in this country through their efforts over the past 100 years.

            In a capitalist economy, the nature of capitalism is to accumulate wealth for the employers by maximizing profit at the costs of the environment or the individuals. Without the checks and balances that labor unions provide, employers will pay workers as little as possible, with as little benefits as possible, with the worst working conditions possible, all because it will be more profitable to the employers. Unions provide workers a way to protect themselves against the greed that capitalism breeds.

            In 2013, a Bangladesh garment factory industrial accident caused a massive death toll; greater than one thousand killed, and over two thousand injured in the flaming and collapsing building. These workers were making little to no pay for their skills and were overworked with no breaks and obviously unsafe working conditions. After this incident eighteen other garment factories in Bangladesh were closed for safety reasons, leaving those workers unemployed. Circumstances were similar for American workers before the foundation of labor unions. One hundred and forty-six workers were killed in a similar garment factory fire in New York City in 1911. The victims were as young as fourteen years old.

In the late 1800’s, workers started to band together to start labor unions, including the American Federation of Labor (AFL) which was for skilled workers only. These unions started to use collective bargaining to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions, as well as lobby for laws that would end up protecting all workers. In the early 1900’s the Foundation of Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was formed for unskilled laborers, most notably workers in the steel and automobile industries. In 1955, the AFL and CIO merged to represent together over 15 million workers.

The most direct accomplishments of labor unions are for their members through contracts with employers. Union members earn roughly 20% more in wages than non-union members, and 28% more when both wages and benefits are considered. This means that most union members are able to earn a livable wage and have the security of knowing they can receive affordable healthcare and retire before they die. Union members are approximately 23% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, pay 18% lower health insurance deductibles, and are 24% more likely to have their health insurance paid for by their former employer when they retire. Workers in a unionized industry are also 31% more likely to have an employer-provided pension plans, and their employers contribute 28% more toward their pensions than non-union employers. Union workers also receive an average of 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave, including both vacations and holidays.

In addition to wages and benefits, labor union members also receive better protection against firing for unjust cause. Most state and federal laws give employers the discretion of firing their employees for any reason, or no reason at all. Labor union contracts have provisions that protect members from losing their jobs, and an appeal process if they feel that they have been fired unjustly.

Benefits from the existence of labor unions are not just for their members but can be found in non-union jobs because employers must compete with the job marketplace standards, and worker’s rights laws. Unions spend a lot of resources lobbying local, state, and the federal government for laws that will protect and benefit all workers; both union and non-union alike. Lobbyists do this by identifying where laws and regulations are needed to protect the workers, and by influencing the government to pass these laws. Labor unions also provide information to workers about workers’ rights and the availability of programs that benefit them. It is also encouraged by their labor unions for workers to exercise workplace rights by reducing fear of employer retribution, and help workers navigate the system of documentation and paperwork involved in applying for programs such as medical leave, worker’s compensation, and unemployment benefits.

Some of the legislation that labor unions have been instrumental in getting passed and that benefit all workers are the federal minimum wage, child labor laws, Social Security, overtime pay for more than a 40-hour work week, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and workplace safety laws such as the foundation for the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA enforces safety and health standards in the workplace. The purpose is to limit work-related injury, illness, and death due to unsafe working conditions. However, OSHA only has about 2,100 inspectors to monitor over seven million workplaces, and much of the action from OSHA requires worker-initiated complaints. Unions provide a structure for inspecting and enforcing OSHA regulations. Union workers are more likely to exercise their right to walk around with an OSHA inspector to point out potential violations, inspections last longer, and penalties for noncompliance are greater.

Another way that labor unions help all workers is by reducing wage inequality across all workers. They do this by raising wages more for low and middle wage workers than they do for higher wage workers. They also raise wages more for blue collar workers than for white collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree. By raising the wages of those who would otherwise make less, this helps close the gap between lower and higher income workers. Unions also set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a non-union high school graduate whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than high school graduates in less unionized industries. This especially impacts industries such as agricultural, factory, and construction.

The Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations was created to protect the rights of the individual. Article 23, section 1 proclaims that everyone has the right to work in safe conditions and have protection from unemployment. Section 2 ensures that there is no discrimination based on age, gender, race or any other factor of humanity toward compensation. Section 3 states that every worker has the right to be compensated justly for their work, enough so that they can provide an “existence worthy of human dignity” for them and their family. Article 23, section 4 notes explicitly, “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” This is included because unions are such an instrumental component to acquiring and preserving worker rights. Also included in the Declaration of Human Rights is the right to reasonable working hours and paid vacation time in Article 24. The United Nations created this document in response to the atrocities committed in World War II, to be used as a standard for rights that all humans are entitled to.

            In the last 60 years union membership has declined from 30% of American workers to a mere 11% in 2017. With all these advantages of having labor unions, it is perplexing why union membership is declining. One reason is that the industries which have been traditionally dominated by unions have been outsourced by companies who can hire workers in other countries where they do not have labor laws or collective bargaining. Some of the workers who are still here in the United States already enjoy the rights and benefits that labor unions worked so hard to achieve, and don’t realize that without the power of unions those right and benefits could just as easily be taken away. In fact, powerful and wealthy individuals and corporations have always tried to fight against the power of their workers unionizing and push for what they call “right to work” laws. A recent Supreme Court case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, ruled that workers cannot be forced to pay union dues, even if they are represented by the unions at their workplace, and benefit from that representation. This is a major blow to the power of the labor unions, since they use this money to acquire and protect all these rights for workers.

            Workers need to realize the importance of labor unions and band together to support them, especially financially, now more than ever. Without the preservation of labor unions, workers will lose the rights that have been gained through the work that labor unions have done, and workers will suffer. That is the nature of capitalism.

works cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Trade Union.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Oct. 2018, www.britannica.com/topic/trade-union.

Bernstein, Jared, and Dean Baker. “Unions in the 21st Century: A Potent Weapon against Inequality.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Sept. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/09/03/unions-in-the-21st-century-a-potent-weapon-against-inequality/?utm_term=.147dd09fc932.

“How the Decline of Unions Will Change America.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 19 July 2018, www.economist.com/united-states/2018/07/19/how-the-decline-of-unions-will-change-america.

“How Unions Help All Workers.” Economic Policy Institute, www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/.

“Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.

Elijah Falker


Research Paper of Embodied Experience

This semester I have taken a great deal of time to research my own sleeping patterns and how they affect my body and mind. I have compared my sleep with other people’s sleep patterns, as well as what experts say I should be sleeping. I have concluded that sleep is important, and I need to ensure that I am getting the proper amount of sleep to maximize my ability to function in our society at optimum health and mental capacity. I have also learned that rest is important, and I need to find ways to incorporate less stressful activities in my daily routine. Together with other healthy lifestyle choice, I feel that I will end this assignment a healthier and more productive individual.

I started my research by keeping a sleep journal for five weeks starting the 27th of September 2018, and ending the 2nd of November 2018, in the effort to determine how the amount of sleep affects my productivity and health. Copies of my sleep journal are attached to this paper. I chose this project because I have had trouble controlling my sleep and I desire the ability to wake up at a planned time. Determining how much sleep, or rest, my body needs and if that is related to my ability to be productive and function was my main goal for this assignment and research.

I made no intentional manipulation of my sleep patterns. This time was used to record raw data based on energy exerted and renewed. I recorded the times that I went to sleep and woke up. I also took notes at the end of the day reflecting on my accomplishments, energy spent, or any illness.

The raw data I collected about myself was:

37 nights recorded

Total of 315.5 hours sleep

Mean Average of 8.5 hours per night

Mode = 9 hours per night

Median = 8.5 hours per night

Shortest sleep = 6 hours

Longest Sleep = 11 hours

3am – Mean average went to sleep

11:30am – Mean average awake

29 Days went to all classes/work

3 Days missed a class

5 Days no classes or work

33 Days Not sick

4 Days Sick

On the three days that I missed classes, I was also sick. The nights before I got nine hours, ten hours, and nine hours of sleep. However, that is because I woke up sick and went back to bed, not because getting more sleep made me sick. The cause and effect I was expecting was opposite in those circumstances.

In reflection, I got more sleep than I felt like I had, and I did not become sick as much as I thought I did. Also, I somehow didn’t realize that I only have one day per week off and I believe I need more than that. Perhaps my body and mind don’t need more sleep, but rather just more rest. I feel like I would be more rested with the same amount of sleep if my waking hours were not so committed to stressful activities like school and work.

I tend to sleep like someone who works second shift, which is the shift I work. However, I also have a first shift class schedule, which interferes with what my body wants to create as a regular sleep schedule. I have researched more about sleep patterns of people who work second shift and the tactics they use to function in a first shift-based society. This will help me regulate my sleep pattern. I also have registered next semester’s classes to accommodate a second shift work schedule.

Commonly affecting those who work outside the standard 9-5 workday, people who work second or inconsistent shifts can suffer from a medical condition called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. This can result in symptoms such as being unable to be awake and alert when required and the inability to rest or go to sleep at socially acceptable times. The inability to be alert may cause accidents at work or while driving, impair social functioning, cause other health related issues such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular or metabolic, or create a substance dependency. (Shift Work Sleep Disorder [SWSD])

I have interviewed other people, both my peers and people of other ages and

lifestyles, about their sleep patterns and how they think it affects their productivity and health. The raw data I collected is attached to this paper. All of the people I interviewed felt that they got enough sleep, even though the amount of sleep they got, the hours that they slept, and the number of days they were sick or missed work or school, varied significantly. Their perception of getting enough sleep was not necessarily accurate.

The National Sleep Foundation dictates that the appropriate sleep duration decreases with age. For teenagers they say it is eight to ten hours, seven to nine hours for young adults, and seven to eight hours of sleep for older adults. People who sleep outside the normal range, getting not enough sleep or too much sleep, may be compromising their physical health and mental well-being. (National Sleep Foundation)

            However, there are many people who clearly do not fit into these measured hours of sleep and still leave productive and healthy lives. There are also people that do sleep what is recommended and often feel tired and sick, this may be due to their individual body’s physical need for sleep. It may also be that these people have found ways to rest their bodies and minds without sleeping to achieve the same results. There are many people who practice yoga and meditation to do this, or simply relax and read or watch a movie. The things that people find restful varies from person to person.

There is a threshold of sleep that everybody requires though and, in my research, I found that the longer a person goes sleep deprived, the longer it takes to recover. Studies show that a person who functions on just six hours of sleep instead of eight hours of sleep per night has the same cognitive impairment of someone with a blood alcohol count of 0.10, which is over the legal driving limit. (ASAP Science)

Also, people who sleep less than eight hours per night have reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. This increases their appetite and Body Mass Index, especially in Western cultures where fast-food restaurants are open 24 hours, and cupboards are well stocked with junk food for a mid-night snack. Sleep deprivation indicates a correlation with obesity and other major health conditions. (Taheri)

The brain also accomplishes waste management while a person is sleeping. The brain, unlike any other organ, has its own innovative system of discarding waste which only occurs when the body is asleep. The brain is not something that we fully understand how it works, but this has been well documented and is an essential function of the brain which is likely related to the impairment seen in sleep-deprived people. (TED)

There are many tips and tricks to getting more and better sleep. All of your senses, especially touch and smell, influence how well you can fall asleep and stay asleep. The fabric that your bedding is made of can be comfortable, or uncomfortable. Smells may be soothing or unsmoothing. Certain noises may help a single-person sleep, but keep another person awake. They key is to figure out what sensations help you as an individual sleep better. (Brown). Substances such as alcohol and caffeine, as well as electronics will impede your ability to sleep and should be avoided. Even things that may help you sleep one night, such as sleeping pills, can have the opposite effect over time and can become a dependence (Wolff)

Together with my classmates we are creating three games to present at the Core Convivium. These games will incorporate my research on sleep with their research on behavioral habits of the human body. We plan to present using an eight-foot by eight-foot space that will contain interactive exhibits hosted in shifts by our group. I think it would be ironic if I took the second shift.

The first game will be Bad Habit Twister (Grab-it Habit/Twisted). This game will be created using a five-foot by four-foot cloth and there will be images of socially enforced bad habits, such as a cigarette, coffee, or a cell phone in place of the colored dots on a traditional Twister board. Our host will spin the dial and instruct passers-by to participate by placing their assigned body part on the bad habit. As the bad habits are dictated this represents how bad habits control your body.

            The second game will be Good Habit Jenga (Kibiti). Kibiti is a Swahili translation of “Habit Booth”. During this game, participants will pull wooden blocks from a traditional Jenga tower. Upon completion the player would return the wooden block to the top of the tower, illustrating the amount of effort and free thinking required to choose actions that would benefit them, compared to the Twister game where the bad habits are assigned and relatively easy and enjoyable.

The third game will be “Last Minute”. This is a two-player competitive game where participants compete with twenty-six cards each. The objective is to sort them within a minute, but the player who waits a greater amount of time before beginning to sort will be the victor. Procrastinating is an advantage in this game and challenges the notion that procrastinating is a bad habit.

Putting my sleep research together with my classmates’ research on personal habits has shown me that sleep alone does not make a person healthy, wealthy and wise. Instead it is just a part, although a very important part, of a healthy lifestyle that I will make a conscious effort to incorporate in to my life going forward so that I can reach my full potential as a healthy and productive member of my society.

Interview Data;

How many average hours of sleep do you get?

Elijah, Male, Age 20: 8.5

Female, Age 15: 10

Female, Age 61: 8

Female, Age 42: 8-9

What time do you usually go to sleep?

Elijah, Male, Age 20: 3am

Female, Age 15: 9pm

Female, Age 61: 4am

Female, Age 42: 10pm

What time do you usually wake up?

Elijah, Male, Age 20: 11:30am

Female, Age 15: 6:30am

Female, Age 61: 12pm

Female, Age 42: 6:30am

How many days in the past 5 weeks have you missed work or school?

Elijah, Male, Age 20: 3

Female, Age 15: 1

Female, Age 61: 0

Female, Age 42: 0

How many days in the past 5 weeks have you been sick?

Elijah, Male, Age 20: 4

Female, Age 15: 5

Female, Age 61: 1

Female, Age 42: 0

Annotated Bibliography

AsapSCIENCE. “How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?” YouTube, YouTube, 27 July 2014,


Written and created by Mitchell Moffit (twitter @mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (twitter @whalewatchmeplz), this video illustrates what happens when you have too much or not enough sleep. The longer you go sleep deprived, the longer it takes to recover. Studies show that a person who functions on just 6 hours of sleep instead of 8 hours of sleep per night has the same cognitive impairment of someone with a blood alcohol count of 0.10, which is over the legal driving limit.

Brown, Natalie. “27 Super Cheap and Easy Ways To Improve Your Sleep.” BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed, 15 Nov. 2018, www.buzzfeed.com/nataliebrown/cheap-easy-ways-sleep-better-2018.

Twenty-seven strategies to help you fall asleep and get more restful sleep by modulation of the senses such as smell, feeling of the bedding, temperature, natural drugs, stress releases, and minimizing light & electronics. Contemporary methods from non-professionals to improve sleep.

“National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Time Duration Recommendations: Methodology and Results

Summary.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 18 Feb. 2015, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352721815000157.

The panel states that appropriate sleep duration decreases with age. For teenagers it is 8 to 10 hours, 7 to 9 hours for young adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults. People who sleep outside the normal range may be compromising their physical health and mental well-being.

“Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD).” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12146-shift-work-sleep-disorder.

Commonly affecting those who work second or inconsistent shifts can suffer from a medical condition called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. This can result in symptoms such as being unable to be awake and alert during required times and the inability to rest or go to sleep at socially acceptable times. The inability to be alert may cause accidents, health related issues, or drug/alcohol dependency.

Taheri, Shahrad, et al. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated

Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2004, journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010062.

This article from 2004 outlines a study of over 1,000 volunteers that shows people who sleep less than 8 hours per night have reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. This increases their appetite and Body Mass Index, especially in Western cultures. Sleep deprivation indicates a correlation with obesity and other major health conditions.

TED. “One More Reason to Get a Good Night’s Sleep | Jeff Iliff.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Oct. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJK-dMlATmM.

In this video Jeff Iliff speaks about how the brain accomplishes waste management while a person is sleeping. The brain, unlike any other organ, has its own innovative system of discarding waste which only occurs when the body is asleep. Jedd Iliff who is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, helped discover this brain cleansing system.

Wolff, Carina. “7 Surprising Sleep Habits That Can Mess With Your Memory.” Bustle, Bustle, 13 Nov. 2018, www.bustle.com/p/7-sleep-habits-that-can-mess-with-your-memory-13110880.

This article outlines seven common sleep habits that negatively affect the quality of your sleep, and therefore your memory. In addition to routines and practices that you can add to your nightly schedule, there are habits that should also be avoided, such as drinking alcohol or caffeine and using electronics.