Tag Archives: Cristal Canedo

Graduation: What’s on the Other Side?

Many in the Class of 2015 are searching for jobs, and as summer approaches, they are worried about how long it will take to find one. Some graduates are even wondering if the last four, five, or six years of college classes were worth it.

“There are great skills that come from just the process of working towards a degree,” said Douglas Marriott, director of the Los Angeles Valley College Cooperative Education Program and Job Resource Center. “Every year there are upwards of five million new jobs.”

Still, the Labor Department reported last month that unemployment for Americans in their 20s who earned a four-year or advanced degree last year, has increased to 12.4 percent. The rate climbed about 1.5 percent since 2013.

“Even though there are increases in jobs, there are more people going after your job,” said Patricia Gaynor, Assistant Director of CSUN’s Career Center.

In order to stand out, some graduates search for ways to make their resumes more competitive, including deciding to get a master’s degree.

“With a graduate degree, you’d have more specific skills to share in the workplace,” Marriott said.

“Degrees and education are never a waste,” Gaynor said. “Sometimes we may use them as a way to sort of sway away from where we want to go right now.”

One problem employers face is finding people with the proper training, even for entry level positions.

“What we are finding right now is that there are more people that just don’t have the skills for the jobs,” Gaynor said.

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce,  Medical Technology and Nursing are the two majors with the lowest unemployment rate.

“Any kind of technical background is going to be more needed,” Gaynor said, adding that engineering is another area with low unemployment. Gaynor said graduates who keep up with the newest technologies will also have an advantage. “Whether it’s public relations or it’s working in an office, you still need to keep those skills up, and you still need to be aware of what’s going on in the world and what is changing.”

But Marriott said employers are also seeking people with degrees in English or Liberal Arts because of the skills they develop in school. Communication, friendliness, and leadership ability are all examples of so-called soft skills, also called emotional intelligence, skills many employers seek in their recruits.

“I think it’s a matter of the applicant or candidate aligning their transferrable skills to the job that they want,” Marriott said.

Marriott said interacting with potential employers through events such as job fairs can be a good way to establish a relationship.

“There are many jobs that aren’t advertised,” Marriott said, noting many employers may already have someone in mind for a position. “They think of somebody and refer them.”

Plenty of resources are available for soon-to-be-graduates who are looking for work, including help with resumes, cover letters and developing interview skills.

“I would encourage students to stay positive, quantify their experience, and give themselves credit for all the skills they have,” Marriott said.

“Sometimes [getting a job] can take awhile,” Gaynor said. “It’s going to happen. You just can’t give up.”


Moderator: Briseida Holguin

Producer: Cristal Canedo

Anchor: Nancy Moreira

Reporters: Samantha Benitz, Ashley Goosen and Ken Harvey

Social Media Editor: Beau Akers

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The Bogeyman Thesis: Islamophobia Examined

Islamophobia is a term meaning prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam and Muslims.  A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in 2010 found that 49 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view of Islam, a 39 percent increase from 2002.

Some experts believe that the prejudice against Islam since the September 11, 2001 attacks is partly the result of fear-mongering from politicians and competition for viewers among news media.

“Fear can be utilized to inspire, motivate and influence,” said CSUN Political Science Professor Boris Ricks. “It is certainly a tactic, used to achieve political ends or outcomes.”

“With respect to the media, we cannot demand how they operate,” said CSUN Political Science Professor Kassem Nabulsi. “This is a capitalist society. They are after ratings. They are not anti- Muslims themselves, although some talk shows are absolutely, but [not] the general media. Accusing the general media with a broad brush is the same way they are accusing us as Muslims, with a broad brush.”

But Islamophobia may have real consequences on the public dialogue and on American Muslims.

“If you don’t know any Muslims personally, it’s no wonder you fear them, because when you turn on the TV, it’s nothing but frightening images,” said Edina Lekovik, the Director of Programming and Policy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “But treating Muslims like an ‘other’, it’s unhealthy.”

Sixty percent of Muslim Americans say Americans show prejudice towards them, according to a recent Gallup report.

“Everybody accuses everybody,” Nabulsi said. “Terrorism for us, in America as Muslims, it’s our problem like every American…and we need to improve as much as possible our discourse, by first and foremost confronting this issue with our fear.”

The Gallup report also found Muslims are 48 percent more likely than Americans of other major religious groups to say they have experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year.

“What we need to do,” Ricks said, “… is we need to be continually be vigilant, speak truth to power, to ensure stereotypes and phobias are rejected, and see them for what they are: social constructions… collaboration and participation can do that.”

The Center for American Progress published a report entitled “Fear, Inc” in 2011, suggesting that Islamophobia has its roots in a campaign of misinformation from a relatively small group of organizations with an interest in misrepresenting the realities of Islam. According to the report, the resulting fear has had a negative impact on the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution, and it has fueled the belief that the West is at war with Islam and Muslims.

“Phobia – what I call the bogeyman thesis – is not going anywhere,” Ricks said. “It has been a tactic used by elements in society for various reasons and it is a form of behavior modification; if you want to move a country one way or another, you use the element of fear.”

“We can look back on whether this fear has been perpetuated by one group stereotyping another,” Nabulsi said, “but now we’re trying to reverse the trend by creating a different platform for our conversation.”

“I have to be hopeful,” Lekovic said. “I have to look at the future as a better place than today. We need to not move minds, we need to move hearts. Muslims are one of the most integrated communities in the country, and people just need to know us for who we are.”


Moderator: Ashley Goossen

Producer: Nancy Moreira

Anchor: Beau Akers

Reporters: Beau Akers, Samantha Benitz, Ken Harvey and Briseida Holguin

Social Media Editor: Cristal Canedo

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Friend or Foe: You Can’t Sit with Us

“You can’t sit with us.”

So says Regina George in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, a satirical look at the very real phenomenon of bullying, an increasing problem for children and teens.

Today, technology and social media are being used to take bullying from schools and parks right into victims’ homes, pockets, and purses.

The National Education Association estimates that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

High school senior Hanna Kytlica said she had stopped attending cheerleading team because of a bully, and ended up transfering to a high school with a zero tolerance bullying policy. Kytlica said she didn’t wanted to quit cheerleading or leave her school, but it was not worth the torment she went through.

“I’m gonna live my life,” Kytlica said. “I’m gonna be who I am. I learned that it made me such a strong person. I can sit by myself, I’m not afraid like in Mean Girls, because I’m comfortable with who I am, which is the most important part of growing up.”

Stopbullying.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”

The department’s website says that “bullying is repeated over time, including actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”

“People continue to bully because there is a hierarchy that reinforces the actions of bullying to maintain their power status,” Marriage and Family Therapist Joey Dolowy said.

WeUpstanders is an anti-bullying non-profit organization, with the goal to help support victims of bullying while informing the public of bullying at schools and on social media. Members share how bullies have picked on them for multiple reasons such as skin color, body types, social status, speaking English as a second language, and so on.

“I’m colored,” one Upstanders team member said, “and I was smaller than everybody else, so I was bullied and got called racist names.”

Cyberbullying has increased due to the availability of internet and social media sites. The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in its 2010-2011 School Crime Supplement that nine percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying, and the Centers for Disease Control found in their 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey  that 15 percent of high school students were electronically bullied in the past year.

“Internet bullying has grown because it is more accessible and easier to bully people from the comfort of their own home,” Dolowy said.

Stopbullying.gov says kids who are bullied may be at risk of increased alcohol and drug use, skipping school, poor grades, lower self-esteem, and even more health problems.

Dolowy said the best way to prevent bullying is to “walk away, and provide evidence to show administration and faculty.”

“Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy,” WeUpstanders’ website said.

“Being able to talk to my mom got me through it,” Kytlica said.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, you can contact the Cyber Bully Hotline at 1-800-420-1479.


Moderator: Samantha Benitz

Producer: Ken Harvey

Anchor: Ashley Goosen

Reporters: Beau Akers, Cristal Canedo, Briseida Holguin and Nancy Moreira






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The Right to Bear Arms vs. Protection of the People

It has been more than 15 years since a shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills left one man dead and five people, including three children, wounded.

Buford O. Furrow Jr. later admitted he had come up with the plan to harm Jews and ethnic minorities, and had driven from Washington State to Southern California in a van full of guns in order to do it. Furrow had been treated for mental illness in the months before the shootings.

Less than a year ago, a 22-year-old shooter killed six people and injured thirteen people in Isla Vista before committing suicide. The man’s parents, believing their son might be mentally ill, had gone to Santa Barbara authorities seeking help, but officers said after visiting him that the son didn’t exhibit any characteristics that were out of the ordinary.

A new California law tries to prevent violent shooting acts like these from occurring by allowing family members and friends to request a court order, a gun violence restraining order, if there is probable cause that gun owners might have mental health issues.

“I wouldn’t say there is so much [looking for] someone to blame as the fact that people might see weird types of behaviors and really didn’t know that they needed to see a therapist,” JCC shooting survivor Scott Engler said.

The new law, California Assembly Bill No. 1014, says if it can be proven a gun owner presents an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself or others, the court may remove guns from the owner’s possession for up to 21 days, until a court hearing can be held to determine whether the gun owner can own or possess a firearm.

“I’m concerned more than anything about the fact that you could have a situation where you can lose your constitutional protective right to bear arms for 21 days before you get a hearing from a judge… 21 days is a long time for a constitutional right to be taken away,” said Cal State Northridge Political Science professor Craig Renetzky.

The Small Arms Survey reported in 2007 that there are more guns in the hands of citizens in the United States than any other country. On average the survey found about 89 guns per 100 people in the U.S., compared to about 55 per 100 residents in Yemen, and about 46 per 100 in Switzerland.

“Here we are in a country where we have more guns than any other nation per 100 people and yet we still have the highest death rate from gun violence each year,” said JCC shooting survivor Josh Stepakoff.

“I think the problem we are facing is much larger,” Renetzky said. “I think it’s a problem with mental health. I think people are committing crimes with guns that they would perhaps be committing with a knife or a hand grenade … I think we need to look at the underlying cause of the violence not the tool that’s being used to carry out that violence.”

In Texas a new law has been proposed to allow a teacher to use deadly force on a student in defense of himself or herself or of other students in the classroom.

“I don’t think parents need to drop their kids off at school thinking there is the potential for their kid to be killed,” Stepakoff said. “I don’t think there is a place for guns in schools and I don’t think there is a place for violence in schools.”

Stepakoff was a camper at the North Valley Jewish Community Center when the 1999 shooting occurred, and he was one of the children wounded in the shooting.

“There is no closure,” Stepakoff said. “This has continued to be a main factor and part of my life for the past fifteen years. The mental health system needs to be worked on and a universal background check could absolutely be helpful … We would have a better idea of who is actually purchasing a firearm.”


Moderator: Ken Harvey

Anchor: Cristal Canedo

Producer: Samantha Benitz

Reporters: Nancy Moreira, Beau Akers and Ashley Goosen

Social Media Editor: Briseda Holguin


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