Tag Archives: Andrew Pitters

All You Need

Our movies and literature characterize love as being one of life’s greatest achievements.

But although millions have tried, true love is notoriously hard to define.

“I think that love can not have a real good definition because it means so many different things to so many different people,” psychologist and author Dr. Andrew Yellen said.

“I think it’s just a feeling between two people that is indescribable,” said Yellen. “When you’re in love, you know it.”

Experts say it’s important to have realistic expectations about a healthy and happy relationship, and marriage.

“Emotions change, they intensify, they weaken, and they come and go,” Bishop Cecil Richardson said, of the Lighthouse Light of the World Christian Ministries. “I think in order to truly come into a love relationship, we have other things and other components in play.”

Richardson says learning to love oneself, and knowing what one wants in a long-term partner, will help find someone compatible.

“A lot of [the] time, singles confuse sex with love,” radio personality and author Erin Tillman said. Tillman writes a blog as ‘The Dating Advice Girl’.

“There’s intense feelings that happen [when people have] any sort of intimacy,” she said. “I do encourage people to try not to get too intimate too early on because those feeling can be interpreted as love.”

Understanding the difference between lust and love can influence the decisions individuals make, Tillman said. There’s a big difference between infatuation and falling in love, and it’s important to recognize that.

“Often times your emotions over-rule your reasoning and you make poor choices,” Richardson said. “[When] you’re following emotion, you’re not following your reasoning.”

“Sometimes we’re so on a path [with] the end goal of marriage, or a ring, [that] we over look the person,” Tillman said.

According to a 2015 Pew Research study, nearly nine-in-ten Americans are online and almost half know someone who uses online dating, or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating.

“There’s not one right way, or wrong way to meet somebody,” Tillman said. “Online dating and dating apps are not going away, so it’s a very realistic thing that should not be ignored because people of all ages are using them.”

Social networking sites are now playing a integral role when it comes to relationships in a digital era. Attitudes towards online dating have become more positive and widely accepted. More and more people are choosing to be matched up based on what makes them compatible with other people.

“Our app, called the ‘Love Shopping List,’ does exactly that,” Yellen said. “One of the things I emphasize with couples and singles is that [you] need to understand what you’re looking for.”

But experts agree that although meeting someone compatible can be difficult, it’s the challenges faced after a relationship begins that tests its strength the most.

“When you have individuals as a couple who can grow together, you have a energy that continues to grow, and both [will] benefit from it,” Yellen said.

“Love is work, and if you’re not willing to work, you’re not going to have love,” Richardson said. “People [say] they want love, but they’re not willing to put in the work.”

“Whether it’s transgender, or LGBT, or whatever it [might be], it’s a relationship,” Yellen said. “And the thing we do most as human beings is have relationships.”

Moderator: Sarina Sandoval

Anchor: Daisy Lightfoot

Producer: Sarina Sandoval

Reporters: Jon Gripe, Ashley Horton, Andrew Pitters and Sarina Sandoval

Social Media Editor: Ashley Horton

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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is a movement which began two years ago, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the charges against him during the Trayvon Martin murder trial. CSUN was the site of a Black Lives Matters event recently, organized to bring awareness to students about the issues surrounding the cause.

One of the goals of the event was to teach students about what they can do to make a difference. Workshops were held so that students could learn how to become involved in the movement.

“The beautiful thing is, when we teach these things to students, then [they] get a foundation and they can use that foundation to move forward and help Black Lives Matter,” said Dr. Aimee Glocke said, a professor in CSUN’s Department of Africana Studies.

Some have questioned whether BLM’s decision to forego a traditional hierarchy and go without an appointed leader might limit the group’s ability to spread its message and accomplish its goals.

“I feel like that’s a phenomenal way to go,” Glocke said, “because then the idea is that there is a collective voice. There are different perspectives in it, and that includes same gender loving lives [and] black [transgender] individuals who have been murdered by the police…This is a leader-full movement, [and] this gives [it] an advantage, because it includes so many different black people in different walks of life.”

Another response has been to the name of the movement, and expression of the opinion that BLM should be focused on ‘all lives matter’, so it encompasses all ethnic backgrounds, but supporters of the BLM movement say this change would take away from the real problem.

Wesley Williams, the president of CSUN’s Black Male Initiative Organization, explained why the name Black Lives Matter is so important.

“It’s like there are two houses,” Williams said. “A perfectly standing [home] and a burning home….Because all houses matter, we’re going to water down this perfectly fine house while the other one burns. Even though one needs [the water] more than the other.”

“We’re getting murdered; we’re having the trouble with the police,” Williams said. “And other races aren’t being affected by it this dramatically.”

Another problem Black Lives Matter addresses is the media’s often unfair and selective view of Black America.

“The media embraces white supremacy and racism, so how can we ever expect them to give [this movement] a fair portrayal?” Glocke asked.

Glocke said the news media can manipulate the audience by showing only black violence, and almost none of the progressive work that is being done.

“How many news stations showed [the recent Million Man March]?” Glocke asked. “ The idea is here [was] a peaceful, wonderful, community-oriented movement, that revolved around Black Lives Matter, and that doesn’t get shown.”

Police brutality towards the black community is nothing new, but many Americans have become more aware of the issue because of the Internet. The internet’s accessibility makes it easy for people to share any videos documenting these incidents.

BLM has been successful using social media to spread its message. Even the name started out as a hashtag on twitter, and then the movement took off using social media.

“[The police] have control over media as a mass,” Williams said. “They own those. But they don’t own what I post on my Instagram, my Twitter, my Snapchat. Those go around and touch millions of people.”

Social media also make it easy for celebrity figures to get involved and bring these issues into the forefront.

“The people who [are] in a position of power and have the influence, [aren’t always using] it for good,” Williams said. “[These] are the people who the black people really need, and because they don’t care, is why white America [doesn’t] care.”


Moderator: Daisy Lightfoot

Anchor: Sarina Sandoval

Reporters: Jon Gripe, Ashley Horton, Daisy Lightfoot, Andrew Pitters, Sarina Sandoval

Social Media Editors: Jon Gripe, Daisy Lightfoot, Andrew Pitters

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The Future of Space

The search for life in the Universe has taken a leap forward with the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s announcement of the presence of water in liquid form on the surface of Mars. NASA’s discovery came as a scientific breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth, and the anticipation that humans may one day be able to travel to Mars.

CSUN is helping NASA search for signs of life on other planets through the research being done by Biology Professor Dr. Rachel Mackelprang. Mackelprang and her primary collaborators at the U.S. Geological Survey  have just been awarded a 1.3 million dollar grant from NASA to investigate the possible connections between life surviving in Earth’s frozen soil, and life surviving on Mars and on other frozen planets.

“Mars has permafrost, the ground has been permanently frozen for a very long time, and so we study how microbial life survives over geologic time in Earth’s permafrost,” Mackelprang said. “The hope is that [this will] give us some clues as to how life might survive in similar environments on Mars and other extraterrestrial bodies.”

Mackelprang and her group study samples taken from Alaska, where temperatures are extremely cold and there is very little water or oxygen. The harsh conditions found in these environments on Earth are similar to those found on our neighboring Red Planet.

“[From my perspective] as a biologist, it should provide some extremely interesting information about the origins of life,” Mackelprang said, “how it evolves, what types of things are common between [Earth life] and life else where, [and] what types are different.”

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in Pasadena, California. JPL’s primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft.

“The lab I work in specifically deals with gripping technologies,” said Vladimir Arutyunov, a mechanical engineering intern at JPL and a CSUN engineering student. “There are all sorts of places on Mars and on other bodies that [we would] like to explore, but one of the main problems is mobility. [The lab I work in focuses on] gripping onto rock surfaces for planetary exploration [and] asteroid exploration.”

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program studies Mars potential capability as a habitat for past or present life. Through spacecraft and rover missions, scientists can gain a better understanding of the biological conditions on Mars, and how it has evolved.

“A way to think of it that helps me, is [that] the rover is our presence [on Mars] right now,” said Arutyunov. “[It’s] kind of our flagship Mars mission, and they’re gaining a lot of data for us that will help us for these human missions.”

The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the successful Curiosity rover. Additionally, JPL’s 2016 InSight mission plans to place a lander on Mars, designed to drill below the surface of the Red Planet to examine its deeper interior.

According to JPL, these future missions will assess the natural resources and hazards of Mars. Investigating these key questions about the habitability of Mars may help prepare for future human expeditions to the Red Planet.

The Pew Research Center reported almost two-thirds of Americans expect astronauts to land on Mars some time in the future, and more than half expect ordinary people to be able to travel in space by the middle of this century.

More than 45,000 space fans showed up for JPL’s annual open house in October, and director Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi film “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon, attracted 18 million movie-goers on opening day.

“Last year I was on a zero gravity test flight and that was my first taste of what that might be like,” said Arutyunov, “and [ever since then] I have definitely been fascinated and [fantasized] about going to space.”

Moderator: Andrew Pitters

Anchor: Jon Gripe

Producer: Andrew Pitters

Reporters: Jon Gripe, Ashley Horton, Andrew Pitters and Sarina Sandoval

Social Media Editor: Daisy Lightfoot

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Marijuana U

Habitual marijuana use seems to be becoming the norm on many college campuses, as our society’s perceptions regarding the cannabis culture continue to change.

According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, marijuana use among college students is at its highest in more than three decades.

Marijuana’s rising acceptance in the media has had an impact on the way many college students view this drug.

“I think that the media has influences on all aspects of our lives,” said Shannon Franklin, a CSUN University Counseling Services therapist. “I think having that system that is surrounding us, telling us what is good and what is bad can definitely influence what a student thinks is appropriate for them.”

The last few years have seen a dramatic shift in the public’s attitude towards legalizing marijuana, and marijuana has become an alternative treatment for individuals with physical ailments such as cancer and other illnesses.

Marijuana’s popularity among college students is also due to its potential psychological benefits. When the pressure of college becomes too much to handle, some student may turn to marijuana as a way of dealing with feelings of anxiety or stress.

“I do see students who come in [for counseling], who are stressed, anxious, depressed,” Franklin said. “They might have tried marijuana to manage those symptoms, [but] the thing I’m really concerned about is why [they turned] to marijuana. Why was it interesting to them and how were they trying to reduce their symptoms? Were they trying to feel more calm? Were they trying to get away from their problems?”

Many college students may be unaware that smoking weed is potentially harmful for them. It can affect the brain’s development if it has not yet fully matured.

“Our pre-frontal cortex develops until we’re the age of 26,” Franklin said. “What that regulates, is your ability to make decisions and decide whether something is good for you.”

Marijuana can also have a negative impact on a college student’s academic performance, if it’s used inappropriately, such as in class or while studying.

“I think that being under the influence of anything will definitely alter your focus,” said Margaret Spryzynski, a Registered Nurse.

“If you smoke right before class, you’re not going to be able to concentrate as well,” Franklin said. “You might experience some symptoms of paranoia, [and when you’re] focused on what other people are thinking, [you are not] able to retain the memories that you need.”

A rise in daily marijuana use among college students could also be due to its accessibility, and that accessibility may be making it as popular as prescription drugs. But medical experts warn there are risks involved with replacing prescription medication with weed.

“From a medical perspective, I don’t think that marijuana is a good alternative for prescription medications because you have to look at why they need it,” Spryzynski said. “There are so many medications that we have, that marijuana should never be your first line of treatment.”

“Weed definitely has side effects such as withdrawals,” Franklin said. “You can be diagnosed with a cannabis addiction, and those are the things I keep my eyes open for.”

The American College Health Association conducts a survey every year to determine students’ habits and behaviors. The 2014 study reported that 37 percent of CSUN students said that they have tried marijuana at least once. It also found that only 15 percent of CSUN students said they smoked marijuana on a more regular basis or within the last 30 days.

“This is part of human nature and social norms,” Franklin said. “What we think everybody is doing isn’t necessarily what they’re actually doing.”

“Marijuana can be a quick fix for some people, but I want to work on skills you can take into your adulthood,” Franklin said. “[That way] you can figure out what to do when you’re stressed, and what to do when you’re anxious. Students can come over to the University Counseling Services, and meet with one of us, and have that conversation and that attention, and get the knowledge that they need.”

Moderator: Jon Gripe

Anchor: Daisy Lightfoot

Producer: Andrew Pitters

Reporters: Jon Gripe and Ashley Horton

Social Media Editor: Sarina Sandoval

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