Stefanie Wheeler Receives 2011 Fordham University Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Casey’s parents, Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman with Stefanie Wheeler at the awards ceremony

Stefanie Wheeler, a Fordham University senior and Online Editor of The Observer, the student newspaper of Fordham University,  received the Casey Feldman Scholarship for 2011. Ms. Wheeler was recognized at the Senior Leadership Awards dinner at Fordham University on May 5, 2011, which was attended by Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson.

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation awards an annual scholarship to a Fordham College at Lincoln Center (Forhdam University) Communications and Media Studies major for financial assistance to accept and complete an otherwise unpaid internship. Internships are essential to students to gain experience in their field and and provide greater opportunities to secure employment upon graduation. Many students have to decline internships for financial reasons and accept in the alternative, a paid position in whatever will provide them with some income.

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Brooke Burdge Runs the NYC Marathon in Memory of Casey

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

The back of Brooke's shirt

One of Casey’s best friends from Fordham University, Brooke Burdge, ran the NYC Marathon on Nov. 7, 2010 in Casey’s memory. The proceeds raised through the donations to Brooke’s race went to Back On My Feet, an organization that supports the homeless. Brooke completed her first marathon (26.2 miles) in an amazing 4 hours and 17 minutes!

According to Brooke in her pre-marathon reflection,” I think about Casey a lot when I run.  I guess it’s because of the overwhelming feeling I get that I am alive and present. Although she is not physically present with me each day, I still feel her with me and see signs of her…. I know I’d probably be getting a text from Casey before the marathon that said something along the lines of “Good luck, boo!!! You’re a beast!!”  And I know she’d be out in the crowd somewhere to watch and cheer me on…..  I won’t see her—but she’ll be there.”

 Brooke’s message immediately after the race: ” Lady Gaga played outside by a DJ at Mile 8… Casey!… Woman in front of me dressed in all pink as the Pink Panther at the start…

I had our picture on the back of my shirt… three other runners came up at different points and touched my shoulder and said “Caseys with you now”…

Touched her bracelets when I felt weak.  Felt a burst of energy at Miles 24-26…. 

Amazing amazing amazing day… happiest day of my life.”

View additional photos in the photo gallery on CaseyFeldmanMemories.org.

Casey Receives Honorary Diploma from Fordham University

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Casey's roommates: L to R Christina Halligan, Cassie Foote, Janine Repka, Kelsey Butler

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Casey’s class of 2010 graduated from Fordham University. In addition to Casey being recognized by many of her classmates and friends with a single pink rose pinned to their graduation gowns, the University recognized her as well. Casey’s name appeared in the commencement program and she was remembered in prayer at the morning commencement for the entire University. At the separate diploma ceremony for the Fordham College Lincoln Center students in the afternoon, Casey was mentioned by the student speaker in the class address given by Dave de la Fuente. The first diploma awarded by Dean Grimes was to Casey, which was accepted by her parents. Dean Grimes and the Fordham University community lovingly acknowledged that Casey, one of their own, was not physically present on this memorable day, but was there in spirit to guide over and watch her fellow classmates and friends accept their diplomas.

View more photos of the graduation. Click  on the video below to watch Dean Grimes present Casey’s diploma.

Marie Larson and Brooke Burdge each wearing one of Casey's dresses under their graduation gowns

Casey's parents Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson accepting Casey's dipolma from Deans Grimes and Greif

Casey's dipolma

Scholarship Recipient Brooke Burdge Recognized as Featured Volunteer at Animal Haven in NYC

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Casey Feldman Network site administrator, Brooke Burdge is the “Featured Volunteer” this month at Animal Haven in NYC. As many of you know, Casey and Brooke were friends and used to volunteer together at Animal Haven, taking the dogs out for much needed walks and giving love to all of the pets sheltered there, including the kitties. Despite
a hectic schedule between her studies, internship, working as a waitress and administering the Network site (CaseyFeldmanNetwork.org), Brooke has continued to make the time to volunteer with the animals. The photo of Brooke selected by the shelter for their feature of Brooke is one of Brooke holding the “Casey puppy”. Shortly after Casey’s death, a spirited black puppy arrived at the shelter and was named Casey, in Casey’s memory. Fortunately, this loving little pup was quickly adopted. Maybe our Casey helped orchestrate that adoption! When told that our Casey was probably smiling on this recent honor bestowed upon Brooke, as featured volunteer, Brooke responded, “She would get a kick out of this. I always wanted to be in that newsletter! Haha!”

Congratulations Brooke! Thanks you for your tieless efforts on behalf of all of the animals that you helped, including those at Animal Haven.

Note: To view the video of Brooke at Animal Haven shelter talking about her experience volunteering there with Casey,  click here and fast forward to 4:51 minutes into the Remembering Casey DVD. Read the previous post on Brooke Burdge’s award of a Foundation scholarship . Give other deserving young people opportunities and contribute to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation .

Foundation Scholarship Recipients Recognized at Fordham Awards Banquet

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Brooke Burdge (left), Joel Feldman, Dianne Anderson and Ashley Wennersherron at the Senior Leadership Awards Banquet

Fordham University recognized Brooke Burdge  and Ashley Wennersherron at the Senior Leadership Awards banquet held on April 27, 2010  in the Atrium at  the Lincoln Center campus. Brooke and Ashley were recognized  as the first  recipients of the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship which was established at Fordham University, where Casey was a senior at the time of her death. Brooke and Ashley were both friends of Casey and had worked with her on the  Fordham student newspaper, The Observer. Rev. Michael Tueth, S.J., Associate Chair of the Department of Communications and Media recognized the recipients. In noting just a few of the many impressive undertakings of these  fine young women, Father Tueth  mentioned that both Brooke and Ashley made time in their schedule to do volunteer work with animals (something  also dear to Casey’s heart).

Both women received a $2,000 scholarship this semester from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to assist with finances while performing unpaid internships. Brooke interned in the Sales and Marketing Department of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Central Park. Ashley interned at CNN in the Medical News Department. Brooke hopes to secure full time employment with The Ritz upon graduation and Ashley will be attending Columbia University doing graduate work in journalism. [See the Foundation’s previous news article, “Congratulations Brooke and Ashley!” ,1-14-10, for more information.]

Ashley also received  the University’s  Journalism Award and Brooke, an award as nominee for a Senior Leadership Award.

[Note: Watch the video of Father Tueth recognizing Brooke and Ashley and see more photos from the awards banquet . Give other deserving young people opportunities and contribute to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation.

Foundation Sends Fordham Students to National College Newspaper Convention

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

 

L to R: Gabby Linzer, Rob Beatson, Casey Feldman, Craig Calefate, and Ashley WennersHerron at the convention in San Francisco, February 2008

As a result of a generous donation from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, three students on the Fordham Observer staff  had the opportunity to attend the Associated Collegiate Press’ (ACP’s) 26th annual National College Journalism Convention in Phoenix, Arizona from  February 25 – 28, 2010. Stefanie Wheeler,  Assistant Online Editor, Anndrew Vacca, News Editor, and Liz Bowen, Opinions Co-Editor, were the recipients of the funds. They attended the conference  along with Assistant Features Editors Beata Cherapakhina and Faith Heaphy, whose  trips were funded  through the Observer.

The Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), is the oldest and largest national membership organizations for college student journalists with more than 20,000 students staffing ACP college member publications. This year’s four day convention in Phoenix consisted of idea-packed keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, displays and critiques  from some of the best journalists,  advisors and students in the country. It ended Sunday with the presentation of the Best of Show Awards.  This year, the Observer won second place for Best of Show for a four-year college, non-weekly newspaper, and first place in the multimedia package category.  Out of an entire nation of college newspapers – way to go Fordham Observer!

All of the students expressed their gratitude to the Foundation for the opportunity to attend the convention.  According to one of those students, Stephanie Wheeler, “I cannot begin to describe how inspirational, educational, and uplifting the Associated Collegiate Press Journalism Conference in Phoenix was this past weekend. I am so blessed and grateful….Without your help, I would not have been able to afford the expenses on my own. The trip was a reconfirmation that I am pursuing a career in a field that I feel extremely passionate about. I had the opportunity to learn from some of the most honorable and innovative professionals in the Journalism field and I have taken back with me a handful of learning tools that will be beneficial to me in my future endeavors as well as to others who I plan to share my newfound knowledge with….I will never forget everything I learned about journalism and myself….”

Casey with Gabby, being interviewed by another college newspaper. The interviewer becomes the interviewee!

Intent on pursuing a career in Journalism, Casey joined The Observer soon after arriving at Fordham University, getting her first news bylines as a freshman, becoming an assistant news editor as a sophomore and news editor as a junior. She was returning as news editor for her senior year at the time of her accident in July 2009. Casey was one of the students who was able to attend the ACP convention in San Francisco in February 2008 as a sophomore.

Ashley WennersHerron, currently Editor- in- Chief of the Observer, who attended the conference with Casey, recalled the group joking in San Francisco about the abundance of complimentary coffee. “It was like all of the students were competing to drink more coffee in order to be more ‘journalistic,'” Ashley said. In typical Casey fashion, she used her acting chops to expertly imitate a caffeinated reporter trying to conduct an interview.

According to Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother, “I remember how honored and excited Casey was when she was told that she was chosen to attend the conference and what a rewarding experience it turned out to be for her. Casey was extremely proud of the fact The Observer won first place in “Best of Show” that year for a four-year college, non-weekly newspaper. She was really disappointed that she and all Observer staff members could not attend annually because of limited funding. We knew immediately when we established the Foundation that Casey would be so pleased if we could enable more students to benefit from attending this outstanding annual conference.”

Give other deserving young people opportunities and contribute to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation . Go to the Memories site and read Casey’s articles published in the Fordham Observer. See more photographs from Casey’s 2008 San Francisco trip with the Observer.

Pushing the Limits: One Student Sprints Towards Success

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Kayleigh Taylor,  of  Fordham University was inspired by Casey to run the Vancouver marathon to raise funds for blood cancer research for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS).  Kayleigh met Casey in the summer of 2006 at college orientation. “…the sweet girl I had met three years prior… accomplished more in her 21 years than many people do in a lifetime….The dedication of … teammates and my memories of Casey have given me reason to rise out of bed early Saturday mornings for long runs and the courage to push myself to limits I never thought possible….’

Read Kayleigh’s article published in the Fordham Observer on March 3, 2010 below:

Kayleigh Taylor, FCLC ’10, is working towards her goal of $4000 as she prepares to run a marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Last week while the rest of the northeast enjoyed a beautiful snowfall, New York City endured hours of freezing rain. I decided to run to practice, hoping to make the commute less painful. I shoved my ear buds through the lining of my inside pocket, and tried to zone out Manhattan as I soared as quickly as possible through a cloud of frantic umbrellas. By the time I arrived, I was completely drenched. As soon as I stopped running, my body temperature plummeted and I realized just how cold it was. I ducked under Bethesda Terrace to wait for my team and wondered if anyone else would be crazy enough to show up. In retrospect, it was silly to have doubts, my team is just as hardcore and dedicated to this cause as I am.

What cause, your asking? I am training this winter with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team in Training to run the Vancouver Marathon. Team in Training provides its participants with expert coaches and training clinics, and in return, each participant agrees to fundraise a certain minimum for blood cancer research. My minimum requirement is $3,900, but I am really hoping to break $4,000!

I made the commitment to the LLS after the death of Casey Feldman this summer. I wasn’t a close friend of Casey’s, but she happened to be the very first person I met at Fordham at our Summer Orientation in 2006. Casey and I were placed in the same small group, so we spent the day together: listening to the information session, playing icebreakers and going on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood (which we won!). I remember the day very clearly, the things we discussed and my first impressions of my peers. While we walked around the city scouting take-out menus and Trump Hotel pens, Casey and I talked about leaving our high school boyfriends, our potential new roommates and the things we would miss about our hometowns. I was deeply affected by Casey’s death and monitored, somewhat obsessively, the developments her parents and friends made on her Web site.

I was comforted to discover that the sweet girl I had met three years prior had accomplished more in her 21 years than many people do in a lifetime. But I was also frightened to realize that life is so fragile, and that at any moment dreams can be taken away from us.

In October, I discovered that Casey’s parents had created a networking Web site encouraging Casey’s friends, family and peers to give back to the community and live life more fully. I decided immediately that I wanted to take action. Running is one of my strongest passions, and for a few years I had been tempted by the Team in Training program. The fundraising requirement is intimidating, for lack of a better word, so I planned to postpone joining until after graduation. But after perusing Casey’s site that night, I knew that it couldn’t wait, and the next evening, I went to a Team in Training information session and signed up.

Since registration, I have been in contact with Casey’s parents and friends. The pink commemorative bracelet they gave me helps me remember everyday why I’m training and striving to help the community. I have shared Casey’s story with my teammates, and many have shared their own stories with me. Some are blood cancer survivors, while others run in honor of a friend or family member. The dedication of these teammates and my memories of Casey have given me reason to rise out of bed early Saturday mornings for long runs and the courage to push myself to limits I never thought possible.

Thus far, my training has gone very well. I’m almost ready to conquer the 26.2 miles! Likewise, my friends and family have been very generous and I have reached the 50 percent mark in my fundraising. But I still have a long way to go! On March 6, I will be hosting an open bar fundraiser from 10 p.m.to 1 a.m. at Cinema Brasserie (45th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues). Everyone is welcome to attend! The cost of the open bar will be $25 for three hours and we will also have some games and raffles.

There was a time, not long so long ago, when I thought completing a marathon was an unrealistic goal for me. I loved running, but I never thought I’d find the time or energy to devote myself to such a rigorous training schedule. After receiving inspiration to take on the challenge and experiencing such tremendous success, I realize that the most restricting limits in life are the ones we place on ourselves. Everyday is a new opportunity, and those who are willing to embrace both spontaneity and discipline will live a truly full and happy life. I have found that there is a certain unmatchable joy in testing limits and in taking on a goal that seems unattainable. I challenge you to do the same.

http://www.fordhamobserver.com/pushing-the-limits-one-student-sprints-towards-success-1.2177686

“Grief in the Age of Facebook” by Dr. Elizabeth Stone, The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 14, 2010)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Dr. Elizabeth Stone, one of Casey’s professors and mentors at Fordham University, published the following article in The Chronicles of Higher Education, on March 14, 2010:

Grief in the Age of Facebook

By Elizabeth Stone

After the death of Casey Feldman (right), many of her friends changed their photographs of themselves on their Facebook profiles to a snapshot of them with Casey. Above, Kelsey Butler's Facebook photo, with Casey.

On July 17 last year, one of my most promising students died. Her name was Casey Feldman, and she was crossing a street in a New Jersey resort town on her way to work when a van went barreling through a stop sign. Her death was a terrible loss for everyone who knew her. Smart and dogged, whimsical and kind, Casey was the news editor of the The Observer, the campus paper I advise, and she was going places. She was a finalist for a national college reporting award and had just been chosen for a prestigious television internship for the fall, a fact she conveyed to me in a midnight text message, entirely consistent with her all-news-all-the-time mind-set. Two days later her life ended.

I found out about Casey’s death the old-fashioned way: in a phone conversation with Kelsey, the layout editor and Casey’s roommate. She’d left a neutral-sounding voice mail the night before, asking me to call when I got her message, adding, “It’s OK if it’s late.” I didn’t retrieve the message till midnight, so I called the next morning, realizing only later what an extraordinary effort she had made to keep her voice calm. But my students almost never make phone calls if they can help it, so Kelsey’s message alone should have raised my antenna. She blogs, she tweets, she texts, and she pings. But voice mail? No.

Paradoxically it was Kelsey’s understanding of the viral nature of her generation’s communication preferences that sent her rushing to the phone, and not just to call boomers like me. She didn’t want anyone to learn of Casey’s death through Facebook. It was summer, and their friends were scattered, but Kelsey knew that if even one of Casey’s 801 Facebook friends posted the news, it would immediately spread.

So as Kelsey and her roommates made calls through the night, they monitored Facebook. Within an hour of Casey’s death, the first mourner posted her respects on Casey’s Facebook wall, a post that any of Casey’s friends could have seen. By the next morning, Kelsey, in New Jersey, had reached The Observer’s editor in chief in Virginia, and by that evening, the two had reached fellow editors in California, Missouri, Massachusetts, Texas, and elsewhere—and somehow none of them already knew.

In the months that followed, I’ve seen how markedly technology has influenced the conventions of grieving among my students, offering them solace but also uncertainty. The day after Casey’s death, several editorial-board members changed their individual Facebook profile pictures. Where there had been photos of Brent, of Kelsey, of Kate, now there were photos of Casey and Brent, Casey and Kelsey, Casey and Kate.

Now that Casey was gone, she was virtually everywhere. I asked one of my students why she’d changed her profile photo. “It was spontaneous,” she said. “Once one person did it, we all joined in.” Another student, who had friends at Virginia Tech when, in 2007, a gunman killed 32 people, said that’s when she first saw the practice of posting Facebook profile photos of oneself with the person being mourned.

Within several days of Casey’s death, a Facebook group was created called “In Loving Memory of Casey Feldman,” which ran parallel to the wake and funeral planned by Casey’s family. Dozens wrote on that group’s wall, but Casey’s own wall was the more natural gathering place, where the comments were more colloquial and addressed to her: “casey im speechless for words right now,” wrote one friend. ” i cant believe that just yest i txted you and now your gone … i miss you soo much. rest in peace.”

Though we all live atomized lives, memorial services let us know the dead with more dimension than we may have known them during their lifetimes. In the responses of her friends, I was struck by how much I hadn’t known about Casey—her equestrian skill, her love of animals, her interest in photography, her acting talent, her penchant for creating her own slang (“Don’t be a cow”), and her curiosity—so intense that her friends affectionately called her a “stalker.”

This new, uncharted form of grieving raises new questions. Traditional mourning is governed by conventions. But in the age of Facebook, with selfhood publicly represented via comments and uploaded photos, was it OK for her friends to display joy or exuberance online? Some weren’t sure. Six weeks after Casey’s death, one student who had posted a shot of herself with Casey wondered aloud when it was all right to post a different photo. Was there a right time? There were no conventions to help her. And would she be judged if she removed her mourning photo before most others did?

As it turns out, Facebook has a “memorializing” policy in regard to the pages of those who have died. That policy came into being in 2005, when a good friend and co-worker of Max Kelly, a Facebook employee, was killed in a bicycle accident. As Kelly wrote in a Facebook blog post last October, “The question soon came up: What do we do about his Facebook profile? We had never really thought about this before in such a personal way. How do you deal with an interaction with someone who is no longer able to log on? When someone leaves us, they don’t leave our memories or our social network. To reflect that reality, we created the idea of ‘memorialized’ profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed.”

Casey’s Facebook page is now memorialized. Her own postings and lists of interests have been removed, and the page is visible only to her Facebook friends. (I thank Kelsey Butler for making it possible for me to gain access to it.) Eight months after her death, her friends are still posting on her wall, not to “share their memories” but to write to her, acknowledging her absence but maintaining their ties to her—exactly the stance that contemporary grief theorists recommend. To me, that seems preferable to Freud’s prescription, in “Mourning and Melancholia,” that we should detach from the dead. Quite a few of Casey’s friends wished her a merry Christmas, and on the 17th of every month so far, the postings spike. Some share dreams they’ve had about her, or post a detail of interest. “I had juice box wine recently,” wrote one. “I thought of you the whole time 🙁 Miss you girl!” From another: “i miss you. the new lady gaga cd came out, and if i had one wish in the world it would be that you could be singing (more like screaming) along with me in my passenger seat like old times.”

It was against the natural order for Casey to die at 21, and her death still reverberates among her roommates and fellow editors. I was privileged to know Casey, and though I knew her deeply in certain ways, I wonder—I’m not sure, but I wonder—if I should have known her better. I do know, however, that she would have done a terrific trend piece on “Grief in the Age of Facebook.”

Elizabeth Stone is a professor of English, communication, and media studies at Fordham University. She is the author of the memoir A Boy I Once Knew: What a Teacher Learned From Her Student (Algonquin, 2002).

http://chronicle.com/article/Grief-in-the-Age-of-Facebook/64345/#comments

The Feldmans Meet with Fordham Univeristy’s President McShane

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

 

Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane, Joel Feldman, Justine Franklin and Dianne Anderson (seated)

Fordham University’s annual Philadelphia area alumni reception was held on January 27, 2010 at the Ritz Carlton in Philadephia. University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J. and  Fordham’s Director of Major Gifts, Justine Franklin, met in advance with Casey’s parents, Joel D. Feldman and Dianne  L. Anderson. Father McShane spoke about Casey, whom he knew personally and discussed the scholarship established at Fordham in Casey’s memory.  It is anticipated that an annual luncheon will be held for the scholarship recipents and their families which will include the Feldmans and professors who knew Casey. The recipients will have the opportunity to speak about their internship experiences funded by the scholarship and all will  be able to include  their memories and thoughts of Casey. The annual lucheon will include all former scholarship recipients as alumni,  thus enabling all to remain connected with the University and Casey’s spirit  in the years ahead.

According to Father McShane, ” Casey was a remarkable young woman….She was a restless, creative star who was always in motion, always spending herself to bring life and joy to all who were lucky enough to have her in their lives. At Fordham, she was the center of a series of loving and loyal communities, all of which benefitted from her generosoty of spirit and her great energy. Therefore, her death has left a void at the very heart of the University. At the same time, however,…she continues to be a very real (and quite vibrant) presence in our community….[S]he taught others how to love, how to write, how to see the world in new and exciting ways, and how to be a true “woman for others”. Therefore, she continues to inspire the members of the entire Fordham community….Casey’s influence was (and remains) so powerful in the life of the University….”

Congratulations Brooke and Ashley!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Brooke & Casey at a Fordham Alumni Event in June 2008

Congratulations are in order for Brooke Burdge and Ashley WennersHerron, both seniors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, who are the first recipients of the Casey Feldman Award.

Both women are friends of Casey and are fellow Communication students who have worked with Casey on the Fordham Lincoln Center newspaper, The Observer. The award is funded by the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Endowed Fund, and will provide support for the recipients, who are each pursuing a degree in Communication and Media Studies. 

This year, as a tribute to Casey’s graduating class, the award was given to two students, who will each receive $2000. With the financial support of the fund, the recipients are able to take advantage of an unpaid internship in their area of interest in the Communications field.

In the upcoming spring semester, Brooke will be interning at The Ritz-Carlton Central Park as the marketing and sales assistant for the

Ashley & Casey at the ACP’s National College Journalism Convention Mar. 2008

entertainment division Her duties will include market research for upcoming events in NYC as well as research and analysis on other New York luxury hotels in the Ritz-Carlton competitive set. Brooke will also be providing customer service and sales assistance  for potential clients and current guests. 

Ashley will be interning for the second consecutive semester in the medical unit at CNN. She will continue contributing to Paging Dr. Gupta”, Sanjay Gupta’s CNN blog, and researching in the edit bay. Additionally, she will begin associate producing packages for broadcast and writing articles for cnn.com/health.