Tag Archives: Jacquelyn Koenig

STEM Punks

A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows the US is lagging behind in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) when compared with other nations. The study ranked the US twenty-one out of twenty-three countries in Math, and seventeen out of nineteen countries in problem solving.

But at CSUN, the Mechanical Engineering department is trying to change that trend by providing students with hands on experience. One of those projects is called Matador Motorsports Racecar Building Team.

Geography professor Steven Graves said students need more than a classroom experience. “You have to have both sides,” Graves said. “You have to be able to connect the theory to the practical application.”

Matador Motorsports allows students to build racecars from scratch every year. Through this project students are able to apply the theories they have learned in previous classes.

“We not only do the scientific analysis behind it, but we also physically build it ourselves,” Mechanical Engineering student Ryan Camire said. “So we’re not just engineers, we’re also craftsman.”

A major issue of STEM education has been diversity. President Obama launched the Educate to Innovate initiative in 2009, with a particular objective to diversify the STEM talent pool by including more women and people of color.

“Walking into classes, you’re probably one of three, maybe, women, or maybe the only one,”  said CSUN Mechanical Engineering student Mayra Montesinos. “I know this past summer I took a class, and I was the only woman in the class.”



Moderator: Mihkel Teemant

Anchor: Brionna Lewis

Reporter: Jonny Green

Social Media Editors: Jacquelyn Koenig, Benjamin Ladiana and Trene Todd

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Vegan: An Alternative Lifestyle

Veganism is a way of life that requires people to change their diets, their clothing, and other buying decisions, with the goal of ending the exploitation of animals.

People are drawn to veganism for all sorts of reasons. One might be increased vitality, another to reduce pollution, and another out of concern for animal rights.

Nutritionist Diana Shore said vegans feel better, have better digestion and elimination, and maintain a more desirable weight without even trying.

According to Vegetarian Times, one of the biggest impacts of a meat-eating diet is the depletion of natural resources, especially the consumption of huge amounts of water for livestock production.

Therefore being a vegan may a positive effect on the environment. By going vegan, individuals may help prevent global warming, rainforest destruction, and pollution, while saving water and other natural resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams.

But many people also choose to become vegans for animals.

“I originally did it for the compassion aspect of it, and on a more global level, too,” long term vegan Keith Sikora said.

“There’s a great piece of mind in knowing that because of our compassion, we’re not contributing to the suffering of the animal’s plight,” said Marilyn Peterson, chef and author of Vegan Bite By Bite.

Peterson describes in her book the two stages of becoming a vegan. The first stage is dropping processed foods from a diet, and foods with no animal or dairy ingredients. The second stage is to adopt completely plant-based foods. Her book offers a six-week menu guide.

One common misconception is that a vegan diet doesn’t supply enough protein and calcium. But many experts say it is easy for a vegan to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is sufficient. Strict protein planning or combining isn’t necessary. The key is to eat a varied diet.

“Vegans get their sources of nutrients through peas, beans, lagoons, lentils, dried fruits and dark green vegetables,” Shore said.

A study by Loma Linda University reported that vegans have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters and vegetarians. For example, vegan women have a 34 percent lower chance of contracting female-specific cancers like breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. Similar results occur in men for prostate cancer.

The number of vegans in the U.S. has doubled since 2009, from 2.5 percent of the population to more than 5 percent. About half of these vegetarians say they are vegan.

“The awareness is heightened today because it’s the information age,” Peterson said. “There’s so much great technology and research is so strong that a vegan diet is so healthy, and all of the causes for degenerative conditions are linked to animal products and dairy.”

“It’s a commitment and a choice,” Sikora said, “but definitely a lot easier than what most people might think it is.”


Moderator: Jacquelyn Koenig

Anchor: Ben Ladiana

Reporters: Mihkel Teemant and Trene Todd

Producers: Brionna Lewis and Jonny Green

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Cultivating A Digital Brand #Passion

The Pew Research Center reported recently that 72 percent of online adults use social networking sites. More than four billion videos are watched daily and more than three billion hours of video are watched a month. The widespread success of online media is providing entrepreneurs with many new ways to make their brand or business flourish.

“That’s how I make the majority of my cash, through promotions, reels or marketing videos, because everyone’s going to need to go digital at some point,” blogger Reina Royale said.

Statistics show over 50 percent of American consumers rely on blog posts when buying goods, and smaller businesses saw a 26 percent increase in leads due to blogging.

YouTube blogger Vanessa Watson provides segments like “Wellness Wednesday” on her site, offering her followers videos with tips for losing weight or preparing healthy meals.

Royale provides her online audience with “Royale Reports”, which include her take on pop culture, and the music and entertainment world.

“The reason why you’re probably gaining a following, is because the story remains authentic,” said Dr. Kristen Walker, an associate professor in CSUN’s Marketing Department. “When you come back to branding, it has to be something that’s consistent, and as long as you can stay consistent within that persona, you’re keeping and maintaining your community.”

Social avenues such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great barometers for gauging the reception of the content displayed by the bloggers or online businesses. Entrepreneurs who use social media and digital marketing techniques can get immediate feedback from their followers.

“Everyone loves my weight loss videos [on YouTube],” Watson said, “but it’s mainly to find a balance within myself. I don’t want to venture out what I don’t believe in.”

Experts and practitioners agree that successful digital branding is a process, which starts with making a list of what and whom to target.

Royale said the next step is to cultivate an audience, by finding people who are just as passionate as you are to support your brand, and then consistently following your plan in order to keep them.

“It’s sort of hashtag passion,” Walker said. “You guys are talking about what your passions are, and if you are passionate about things the consumer can connect to, then that’s when it works.”


Moderator: Jonny Green

Anchor: Jacquelyn Koenig

Digital Editors: Trene Todd and Jacquelyn Koenig

Reporters: Ben Ladiana, Brionna Lewis, Mihkel Teemant and Jacquelyn Koenig


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Sexual Assaults on College Campuses – A Growing Concern

Sexual assault on college campuses has become a growing concern nationwide.

One in five female college students are sexually assaulted, according to the Campus Sexual Assault Study published by the Department of Justice in 2007, based on interviews with 5000 women between 2005 and 2007.  Most of those women said they did not report the assault to law enforcement, often because they didn’t want anyone to know what had happened.

“There are a lot of things tied to that,” said Sari Lipsett, coordinator for the California Coalition on Sexual Assault (CALCASA). “People are scared that they are going to be stamped with a label, and no one will respect them or look at them the same way, or they will be viewed as a weak person if they come forward and report the abuse that happened to them.”

President Obama’s recent call to action seeks to raise awareness about rape on college campuses. College students are particularly vulnerable, said a report prepared by the White House Council on Women and Girls. The dynamics of college life adds to the problem, as many victims are abused while they’re drunk or under the influence of drugs, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated. The Campus Sexual Assault Study reported at least half of sexual assaults involved the use of alcohol or drugs by the perpetrator, the victim, or both.

In California, Sen. Kevin de Leon (D – Los Angeles) has introduced a bill that would require colleges and universities to adopt uniform definitions of sexual assault and similar policies for reporting and preventing attacks.

CSUN student Rachel Klein said another student sexually assaulted her off campus. She said she was coerced by the man, who was an acquaintance, into having sex after he threatened to share a provocative picture she had sent him.

“I just gave in because I didn’t know what else to do,” Klein said.

Despite the fact that Klein agreed to a sexual act with someone she knew, what happened to her can be considered rape, said Maggie Stoicof, director of Project D.A.T.E. The Peer Education and Prevention Project, run by the University Counseling Center, reports that 85 percent of college campus rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

“There are so many ways that somebody can lose consent,” Stoicof said. “Clearly he was intimidating her, and she was coerced and forced to this. It was not at her own will and that does constitute as rape. Consent means mind, body, soul, completely. You want to be involved in that act, with that person, at that very moment.”

“The whole time I was in that situation,” Klein said, ” my body was there, but my mind was not.”

But Klein said she had a negative experience when she reported the incident to the police.

Proper training of law enforcement and other officials on how to deal with reports of sexual violence is critical, Lipsett said.

“Campus specialized sexual assault officers go out and start talking to the victim, and we get a full and complete, detailed summary of what happened,” CSUN Police Lt. Mark Benavidez said. “After that, we take the victim to the hospital, where we get biological evidence via a sexual assault nurse who’s specialized in doing that. After that we provide counseling service referrals and victim advocacy and things like that.”

“Sensitivity training from the very, very top positions all the way down to the students is important,” Stoicof said. “Once everybody is on board and has that understanding, we are going to be more able to help and prevent at that point.”

Moderator: Trene Todd

Anchor: Jonny Green

Reporters: Mihkel Teemant, Brionna Lewis, Jacquelyn Koenig, Ben Ladiana

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