Surviving college after the loss of a parent
David Fajgenbaum created Students of AMF to support grieving college students. He is pictured here with his mom, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum, who died when David was a college sophomore.
September 3rd, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Surviving college after the loss of a parent

By Katherine Dorsett Bennett, CNN

(CNN) - David Fajgenbaum started his freshman year of college as a pre-med student at Georgetown University with much anxiety - worrying about his mother's failing health. His mom, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor just two weeks before he started classes.

"We placed my mom in Hospice about two months before she passed away, just as I was beginning my sophomore year, so I drove home every weekend to Raleigh, North Carolina, for those two months to see her," he said.

David had a couple of close friends he could confide in about his mother's situation, but he felt they couldn't relate to or understand the pain he was going through. "It's not an easy thing to bring up at a party or that anyone wants to talk about in the cafeteria," he said.

After a tough battle, David's mother passed away on October 26, 2004. His family held her memorial service a few days after her death and then David immediately returned back to school.

"Since I was pre-med, I decided to focus my efforts on fighting back against cancer, and I was able to connect my studies with honoring my mom, so I actually was able to do very well academically," he noted.

While David excelled in his studies, he struggled personally through her illness and passing. He knew he could speak with counselors at Georgetown, but he felt what he really needed was the opportunity to speak with other students going through the same experience that he was.

Her death prompted him to form an organization called Students of AMF -  a dual acronym for "Ailing Mothers and Fathers" that later changed to “Actively Moving Forward” - and his mother's name, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum.

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Filed under: At Home • College
Time spent playing video games pays off for student
Sinclair Community College student Trace Curry credits his video game playing as a factor in his success in the college's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program.
April 23rd, 2012
06:28 AM ET

Time spent playing video games pays off for student

by Katherine Dorsett Bennett, CNN

(CNN) Complaints by some parents to their school-aged children that video games "aren't good for you" may not necessarily be true.

Apparently, a "PlayStation" mentality can pay off for students interested in aviation and could lead to a future career in that industry.

The strong hand-eye coordination skills and familiarity with a visual readout (from playing video games) can particularly create an advantage for aviation students interested in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), said Dr. Steve Johnson, President of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. "I think there are a lot of things that go into being successful as a student in any program and this is no different," he said.

UAS is an aircraft (also commonly known as a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle) that doesn't carry a crew and is remotely piloted. There are a wide variety of these flying machines. A major benefit of this aircraft is that in theory it can perform many dangerous tasks as a manned aircraft without risking the lives of a pilot and crew.  Most UAS programs have been historically designed for the military, but commercial industries are now developing new types of UAS applications and need to hire people trained in this field, according to Adam Murka, the director of public information at Sinclair.

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Filed under: Practice • Technology