Category Archives: Interdisciplinary Studies

SNC Psych Fair 2018 and UNR Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium a Success! Off to UCLA!

SNC’s Psychology Fair and UNR’s Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium was a success this year with several amazing research experiments conducted by our students.  Gabriella Ariganello was voted in by the senior class to speak at the SNC event about her project, but each student got to present their work via poster-presentations to students and staff on April 23rd.  Danny Dubyak was selected as a speaker at the UNR undergraduate research symposium this year, with the rest of our seniors all presenting posters as well on April 30th.

Gabby’s research focused on the use of person-first (boy with a mental-disability) vs disability-first language (mentally-disabled boy).  Although person-first language is mandated in psychological writing by the American Psychological Association, very little research has been conducted on the use of these two different ways of referring to individuals.  Gabby points out in her paper that although societal expectations assume that we should use person-first language, many people who struggle with disabilities prefer disability-first language.  Namely, the def community, largely prefers to use disability-first language as it is part of their identity and it may also help individuals take ownership of their struggles.  The def community and others alike, see their disability as a defining characteristic which makes their identity unique.  Disabled people may see themselves as part of a culture and using person-first language, although “socially acceptable” may take away a part of their identity or ownership of their personal struggles if we assume they want to be spoken to one way or the other.  Gabby’s research discovered that among SNC student’s, the use of disability- or person-first language had no significant effect on perceived capabilities  (p = .69) or number of errors assessed on the individual (= .94) on evaluation of a hypothetical application.  Gabby works in Reno with autistic children as a behavior analyst and is will be receiving her Master’s in Education in the next few years through a program she is already working with.  Her research points out that societal expectations and standards may not actually align with truth, and is some of the first of its kind.  Gabby points out that the preference of the individual with the learning disability should be considered, however the use of either type of language identifier did not impact perceived capabilities in our sample, which I think is a good thing!

 

Danny Dubyak, a double major in Psychology and Business, focused on whether or not “participation awards” impacted performance.  His research has been accepted for a talk at both UNR and UCLA and it is a very relevant topic for this day and age.  He gave a wonderful presentation at UNR on April 30th with was live-streamed on SNC’s Psychology page.  Although there has been major push back and criticism of participation rewards, Danny’s results give evidence that these rewards actually do increase performance.  He tested three groups, one which he told everybody would receive a reward regardless of performance, one in which only the best performer would receive a reward, and the control group in which nobody received a reward.  He found that the group in which everybody received a reward (“all) had a significantly higher performance (p = .040) than the group in which only the best performer received an award.  The “all” condition also had significantly higher levels of performance than the control, in which nobody received an award (p = .002).  This data challenges the push-back that has been seen in recent months.  He conducted this research due to his double major background and interest in whether or not it would be better, as a business manager, to reward everybody on the team or just the top performer.  His results challenged his own views and hypothesis that the group in which only the best would receive a reward would have the greatest performance levels.  This research is extremely exciting due to the relevance of “trophy kids” today on the news and on social media and opens the door for more research of its kind.

Liam Mattox was also accepted for a talk in the upcoming UCLA research symposium.  As a person who dealt with stress as we all do, he was interested in whether or not having your eyes open or closed during a meditation exercise (mindfulness-based technique) would decrease stress levels.  He measured this using a self-reported distress scale and also keeping track of participant blood pressure.  His results indicated that his independent variable, the stressor, did indeed increase stress (p = .003) and the mindfulness breathing exercise did indeed decrease stress (p = .002).  However, he found no significant difference in stress levels between the open-eyed and close-eyed meditation conditions (p = .01)  These results provide evidence that it doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or closed, stress levels are decreased the same during a breathing exercise or mindfulness based technique, at least in this sample.  Liam’s research is much like Gabby’s, in that it challenges preconceived notions and societal expectations of what we think we should do in certain situations.  While there is a need for more research in the area, it may suggest that open-eyed meditation is just as useful as close-eyed meditation, and we look forward to see his talk at UCLA!

Sarah Freedman focused her research on the use of malicious gossip on social media platforms and it’s impact on interpersonal attraction.  Sarah created fake social media profiles and had participants read the comments on the profiles before filling out an interpersonal attraction scale.  She found a significant (p = .001) difference between the groups.  Those who used negative language and malicious gossip were much less attractive to participants than the individual who used positive gossip.  Sarah points out that previous research has found gossip is used in order to increase pair-bonding (oxytocin) levels between the two gossipers, which helps make their relationship stronger.  However, according to Sarah’s research, although it may make the relationship with the person who agrees with your gossip or somebody you know stronger, it clearly turns people off when they are reading malicious gossip via social media and Facebook from somebody who they have just met or is an acquaintance, decreasing attraction and deterring relationships.

Sybile Moser devotedly conducted two independent research studies this year.  Her first study examined the use of colorized vs black and white photos on retention (memory).  Sybile was interested in whether or not colorizing historical photos could help students’ in secondary school remember material.  For this reason, she used purposive sampling to only include participants under the age of 25.  Participants looked at either a black and white or colorized historical photo from King Tut’s excavation and asked to remember material from previous slides in her presentation.  Her results provided evidence that colorized material did indeed increase engagement (p = .0001) and  retention in students (p = .014) and implicates a need to invest in student interest through revitalization of historical texts.  This information is relevant to teachers, professors, and counselors alike who make present learning material to individuals.

Sybile’s second study looked at the relationship between risk-taking behavior in a “choose your adventure” story-book and nonsocial gratitude.  Participants were asked to make a decision on each page, one decisions being more risky than the other.  Different decisions directed them on to different pages, much look the choose your adventure story books many of us did when we were children.  Results of her second study showed no significant difference after priming with gratitude or not (control).  However, a significant difference did exist in risk taking behaviors between men and women (p = .0008).  Sybile has now conducted three independent research studies between last year and this year!  This is truly amazing work for the undergraduate level!

Jillian Hummer researched Service Dog Awareness in her independent study, which she presented via poster at both SNC Psych Fair and UNR.  The growing impact of service animals and therapy dogs in modern times is a very relevant today.  Jillian assigned 90 participants to three reading conditions about a woman who had a service animal or did not, and then statistics on service animals (control).  She then had participants complete a service dog awareness questionnaire.  The reading conditions did not find a significant difference (p = .946), however Jillian points out that future studies should look at this issue as 46% of participants thought canines were the best species in animal-assisted therapy and 48% had seen service dogs in public, meaning this topic is not going away any time soon.

James Sandoval also presented at both events.  His study examined the impact of priming with different drawing techniques through self-expression usage on creativity levels.  Research has shown the creativity is healthy for the mind and body.  His study collected 96 participant data under minimal self-expression, moderate self-expression, or maximal self-expression conditions.  Results from James study indicate that the maximal self-expressive group had significantly higher creativity levels than the minimal self-expression condition (= .029).  James points out that creativity can indeed be developed as a skill which is very exciting for individual’s who may be scared to live their lives more creatively.

 

This is only the beginning for our undergrads here at Sierra Nevada College!  All of this research is awesome and may help open the doors for others to absorb this information and expand upon their own ideas thanks to these students.  Tomorrow some of us fly to L.A. to finish off the semester presenting at UCLA’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference!  I for one am very grateful for all of the knowledge that these studies have introduced into my life!

 

Author – Ryan Knuppenburg (Senior Intern)

Student and Alum Blogs

Many current psychology students and alumni of our program have spirited blogs which focus on their passions, interests, and work in the field.  I read some of their stuff and let me just say that a lot of these posts are extremely moving and inspiring!  Check out the content here and read about their individual work below:

http://bosswomyn.com/

http://anxiousbrunetteabroad.com/home/

www.justnotafraid.wordpress.com

http://sexdrugsandsustainability.libsyn.com/

Morgan Burke – Graduated in 2014, Current Teacher Aide and Research Assistant

“A thoughtful blog for unapologetic women”

Blog Title: Boss Womyn

Website: Bosswomyn.com

When It All Began: August 2017

What is the blog’s purpose – A platform for “womyn” empowerment.  For anybody who identifies as a “womyn” and is unapologetically feminine.  A place for womyn to share how they are living their lives everyday through all the bull that we have to deal with these days.  This blog is a place that highlights the small victories as well as the big victories and a big part of it is to promote being yourself.

A BossWomyn is somebody who does something for themselves without having to apologize.

BossWomyn supports all womyn, respecting each individual’s choice to present themselves in the way that’s comfortable to them, whether in a feminine way or not.  Basically, if you want to rock lipstick and pumps, do that.  If you prefer baggy sweats and flip flops, that’s cool, too.  All womyn are welcome to share their experiences so we can improve female relationships.

Morgan’s personal meaning behind it – I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I knew I had to do something to get started.  I was in a bad place when I began it and needed an outlet that I could invest what I wanted to do to feel self-fulfilled.  In a way that it’s for other womyn, but it’s a huge part of me.  It’s what I aspire to be.

Morgan is offering a no judgment platform for support.

Goals – Morgan would love to create a community within it and through the Instagram for BossWomyn as well and to make it so that womyn don’t feel like they need to apologize for their choices.

Jillian Hummer – Current Senior

Blog title:

Anxious Brunette Abroad

When it all began:

“About a year ago after traveling to multiple countries I decided I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences with others.”

What is the blogs purpose:
“To help provide information, guides, tips, photos, inspiration, and more for those interested in traveling with or without any anxiety.
The blog focuses on different guides to help plan your next trip to countries in Europe and also is a resource for those who have any anxiety/nerves when dealing with traveling.”
What is your personal meaning behind the creation of this blog or why you continue to do it.
“The personal meaning behind the blog is my passion for traveling and I continue to do it because I hope to share information and inspire others to expand their horizons.
I personally deal with a huge amount of anxiety daily, but traveling is something that I have become extremely comfortable with and want to encourage others to have the confidence to travel too.”
Future goals of the blog:
“The future for this blog is huge as it is being professionally renovated as I type.
I plan to incorporate my psychology degree within my website and offer not only traveling advice but counseling services for those around the world hoping to meet their goals.
The blog will soon also being expanding to offer guides and information about traveling in other areas such as, Tahoe, Reno, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and more!”

 

Maggie Burns – Graduated in 2014

Her blog is called “Just Not Afraid” which comes from a quote Maggie really loves:

“I’m not crazy, I’m just not afraid”

The website is www.justnotafraid.wordpress.com

“I started the blog in 2015. I was thinking about moving to Hawaii and thought it would be a good way to update/keep in touch with family and friends. When that move didn’t happen the blog turned into a way for me to process my thoughts and share them with others.”

Maggie doesn’t have any big goals for the blog yet.  She sees it as a way to write about how she feels to hopefully help somebody else who is struggling with similar issues if they may be reading.  She thinks that one day it would be awesome to use some of her content and posts to formulate a book later on, but that’s years from now.

Anza Jarschke and Sonya Hernandez – Alums

Blog Title: Sex, Drugs, and Sustainability

Blog website?
https://www.instagram.com/sonyaandanza/
http://sexdrugsandsustainability.libsyn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sexdrugsandsustainability

When did it all begin:
“Sex, Drugs, and Sustainability has had many iterations over the course of the years, but we officially started this project on New Year’s 2016. We don’t blog in the traditional sense, but we have made podcasts, micro-vlogs (video blogs), full length vlogs, and other content through social media channels.”

What is the blog’s purpose?
“Sex, Drugs, and Sustainability is a feminist and social-justice media collaboration between Sonya Hernandez and Anza Jarschke to create and distribute media we are interested in. In an increasingly question-ridden world, the mainstream news and media have been exposed as a place where truth is not always present. We want to share our truth, and the truths of the more marginalized that don’t often see themselves in the media. We founded SD&S as a way to bring the conversations we were having about social justice issues, and the world at large, to a broader audience.”

What is your personal meaning behind the creation of this blog?
“One concept we really tried to unpack in the beginning was to expand our perception of what Sustainability means. For us, living sustainably is far more nuanced, intersectional, and communal than simply “being green”. At SD&S we see that the 21st century parameters for a Sustainable Community far surpass the traditional objective to lessen our carbon footprint and includes the health and well-being of our community.  To understand the plights of our community, we must also understand the systems of oppression that are intertwined into our lives. This is where we find ourselves: through an intersectional feminist lens, we attempt to deconstruct these systems of oppression and share ways to be resilient throughout the journey.”

“One of our main goals is to break down stigmas of all kind. We talk about different sexual orientations, relationship configurations, drug use, and focus heavily on our own mental health struggles. The hope is by being radically honest about our own experiences, other folks will feel less shame, more acceptance, and get more information about a variety of issues.”

What are your future goals for the blog?
“Right now we are focusing on micro-vlogging on our Instagram and creating podcast episodes as often as we can. It’s difficult these days with both of us living in different states and still in grad school/doing thesis research, but because of our close friendship we still make time to collaborate and create content together.”

 

Author: Ryan Knuppenburg (Senior Intern)

Experimental Research Continues Data Collection

This year’s senior class started off Spring semester strong, testing participants around campus in the first week of class.  Tomorrow, Psychology seniors will be conducting data collection for the 5th and 6th times.  The psychology department needs approximately 900 pieces of participant data between the 10 senior research projects which are currently undergoing.

Research began early this semester due to a few students who are trying to meet the January 31st deadline for APS, the Association for Psychological Science’s 30th annual conference in San Francisco, California.  This is an optional conference, but is the top psychological conference in the country.

Psychology seniors will be attending 3 other conferences this semester, 2 mandatory and 1 optional.  They include the Sierra Nevada College symposium, Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Nevada, Reno, and finally the Psychology Undergraduate Research Symposium at UCLA in Southern California.  Students have until February 31st, one month away, to collect, analyze, and submit data to these conferences.

Six of our seniors are also taking Publication Seminar, a course offered here by Dr. Christina M. Frederick, which helps students publish the findings of their studies in Psychology Journals.

The undergraduate research program at Sierra Nevada College is truly special.  While I may be biased, it gives students a huge step up on the way into Graduate school or Master’s Programs.  More updates to come with the progression of our research process!  Thanks for reading.  🙂

 

Author: Ryan Knuppenburg (Senior Intern)

A Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Due to environmental pressures, family health concerns, and growing awareness from information learned in a health psychology course this semester, I have been meat free for nearly 3 months.  This health psychology class, instructed by Professor Donna Axton, specializes in awareness of the importance of nutrition, diet, education, and environmental stressors which impact a variety of different health outcomes.

Diathesis Stress Model – Predispositions to negative physical or psychological diseases are activated by the presence of environmental or psycho-social stress.

Did you know that the food pyramid or “plate” represented as a healthy meal, is not necessarily what we should be ingesting?  Those same government programs are often funded by milk and dairy corporations which have existed for decades.  There is no doubt a need for farming in this country.  Especially at a smaller level which can increase community collectivism and decrease our environmental footprint.  However, major farms could do their part to stop focusing on maximization of profits and instead switch to sustainable and healthy alternatives.

Did you know that consuming meat is extremely unsustainable for the planet and can not continue at the rate that it is occurring?  Meat production and consumption is one of the largest environmental risks and contributes to fossil-fuel energy consumption.

Did you know that dairy has been linked to many detrimental cardiovascular outcomes, clogged arteries, higher blood pressure, cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal issues and even exposure to the same hormones and chemicals that the animals are treated with?

Due to some of these facts (and many other ones) I attempted to have my own Vegetarian dinner.  And I’m happy to announce IT IS POSSIBLE!!!

We had vegan butter and used almond milk to make mashed red potatoes.  Vegan stuffing, vegan sweet potatoes (couldn’t find vegan marshmallows on time but they do exist) Home-made vegan gravy with vegetable broth that was amazing.  The green bean casserole was also vegan.  It’s pretty easy to eat an all vegetable diet.  Humans evolved to eat meat in colder climates when food was less available, but due to modern advances we do not need to eat meat anymore when we can find anything and grow anything we would like.

The hard part was the turkey substitute.  I will not lie to you, while vegan butter and cream cheese may be better than the real thing, and vegetables and fruits never get all, the Tofurkey we purchased was not that tasty.  The stuffing on the inside was good (and vegan) along with the included brownies which were to die for.  But the Tofurkey tasted like a wet crouton honestly. I still just felt good that I didn’t contribute to the harm of animals or the environment though, and I felt light and energized instead of stuffed like I usually am after eating.

Upon later investigation I found out that Tofurkey is the cheapest (it was 24 bucks) and most flavorless substitute to get.  Quitting meat and dairy consumption is pretty easy with all the alternatives.  Especially when you take into account the health detriments, hormonal imbalances, environmental stress, animal abuses, and in-sustainability of meat and dairy consumption.

I included pictures of dinner and some vegan ingredients you can find at places like Natural Grocers and Trader Joe’s (some I have even found at Walmart).  All in all it was an amazing Thanksgiving.  I hope you see from the pictures that it is possible!  I’m super proud of myself for accomplishing this for the first time ever and can’t wait to improve next year by being prepared with vegan marshmallows, vegan pies, and a better turkey substitute…

The only major downside I can say is there wasn’t any scraps to give the puppy!

 

Author: Ryan Knuppenburg (Senior Intern)

Thank You Veterans!

In honor of Veteran’s Day which passed this last weekend, I spoke to Landen Chau, one of the several military veterans who attend Sierra Nevada College.

Landen will be graduating next month.  He served in the Air force as an intelligence analyst providing information to pilots, and men on the ground for four years and is now only 23 years old.  Landen took an active role in Veteran’s Affairs, attending a previous research study conducted at Sierra Nevada College which looked into the political aspect of drone warfare, conducted by alums Laura Baker and Sephoia Crystal two years ago.  The two studied veteran disenfranchisement through recording and analyzing responses at public forums.  Not only did Landen attend both public forums, when it was his turn to conduct research last year, he also choose a research question that specialized in veteran affairs.

“What has your experience of undergraduate research at Sierra Nevada College been like and how has your own research had an impact on your life?”

Landen (near exact quotes) – I gained a lot of respect for the program, because I didn’t know research was a part of graduating.  Picking my own topic made it easier and worth it, because I was able to pick a topic that I was interested in.  I presented my data at UCLA, UNR, and the student symposium here at SNC.  I studied the use of water as a co-therapist by using measures that monitored stress and mood.  (Not only did Landen use undergrad participants from SNC, but he included actual veteran data that he collected himself outside of campus).  The experience of presenting and studying something I was passionate about made it much more applicable to my life and helpful to me.

“How has your experience as an intern prepared you for your future?”

Landen – I’ve become more diplomatic when talking with others.  Haha, but seriously it has taught me to work better with people I do not have the best outlook on, and to have a more positive outlook towards others who I may not always understand at times.

“Plans for after graduation?”

Landen – I’m going to take a break from school for a while so no Grad school at this time.  I plan on finding employment as an outdoor therapy recreation guide or kayaking guide.

“Last one, the people who have made the biggest impact on your education and life at Sierra Nevada College?

Landen – When I first got here Rosie was my adviser and she helped me out a lot.  She helped me feel comfortable when I first got here since I didn’t know anybody yet.  Christina has also has had a major impact on me, because she is always willing to help and actually goes out of her way to help all of us.  Also the outdoor adventure trips, where I guided for the school, and the student symposiums, where I presented and saw student presentations, all had an impact on me.

 

Landen is only one of the veteran’s that I have personally had class with here at Sierra Nevada College.  Independent research conducted by the Psychology Department here at SNC has provided important contributions to Veteran affairs.  Landen’s research found a significant difference in the water group for distress levels and mood regardless of veteran status.  This highlights the importance of nature therapy and indicates water as a co-therapist may be valuable in therapy settings.

So in honor of Veteran’s Day, Thank you to all who have served at Sierra Nevada College and across the United States!  We are so grateful to you for your service.

 

Author: Ryan Knuppenburg (Senior Intern)

INTD 300: Service Learning Reflection

Interdisciplinary Studies majors must take three INTD curriculum classes throughout their time at SNC: Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies, Service Learning, and Senior Portfolio. This semester, I was enrolled in the intro class as well as the service learning class.

Throughout the semester, I had mixed feelings about my service learning class.

On one hand, it was great to have the opportunity to obtain volunteer hours while gaining class credit at the same time. On the other hand, it was really time intensive to do so.

Our class was required to partner with a non-profit organization and dedicate 60 hours to volunteering with them, along with another 10-20 hours to create a final culminating project.

Since I was taking many other time-intensive classes along with this one, I often felt overwhelmed and had a negative opinion about the class. I felt like my volunteering hours weren’t making a difference and it was causing me to fall behind in other classes.

Despite the stress, the outcome of this class has surpassed my expectations. Along with my six other service learning classmates, we presented our service learning experiences to faculty and friends on Wednesday, May 4th. While explaining the work I did for my non-profit, the presentation allowed me to reflect on the journey and see how far I’ve come since starting the project in January.

As an Interdisciplinary major in ODAL and JOurnalism, it was impressive how much I used the skills in an interdisciplinary way to benefit the organization and grow as a person. My professionalism and communication skills have improved, and I’ve grown my multimedia journalism knowledge and have created an awesome final article to show for it. I took the thing I learned in a school environment and transferred them into a professional environment; a perfect stepping stone for a senior in college about to graduate and venture into the real world.

While I don’t want to go back and experience that stress again, it was well worth it in the end. Thank you Interdisciplinary Studies for forcing me to grow as a student and an individual!

Student Spotlight: Alyx Levine

SNC student Alyx Levine is killing it! An avid rock climber, Alyx recently got the opportunity to write an article (check it out here!) for Bayarea.com about climbing in Yosemite High Country. I sat down with her to chat about school, work, climbing and her plans for the future.

Alyx Levine at Joshua Tree National Park

Alyx Levine at Joshua Tree National Park

Name: Alyx Levine

Hometown: Mill Valley, CA

Year in school: Junior

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Environmental Science

 

What prompted you to attend SNC?

I wanted to find a school that was in the mountains. I attended University of Colorado at Boulder first, but decided that it was too big for me. I found Tahoe and SNC when I was looking for schools near California. It was meant to be!

11082587_909501682433256_6020534073395592439_nHow did you come about choosing ODAL as your major?

I was majoring in Environmental Studies at Boulder and I was going to major in Environmental Science here, but then I found out SNC had an Outdoor Adventure Leadership program. I had just gotten back from an Outward Bound trip that year and knew it was something I wanted to pursue, so I did Interdisciplinary Studies in ODAL and Environmental Science.

How’d you get into rock climbing?

I work at REI in my hometown in Mill Valley. [About three years ago] I was invited by some guys that worked there to go to Yosemite and climb. I had only climbed when I was really young where there was a portable climbing wall, so this was my first real experience climbing; first time on a rope. It was terrifying…I was scared shitless. But, what I really loved about it was when you got to the top and saw the view. That’s where I caught the bug; the rest of history. Now I’ve been climbing for almost three years.

Favorite places to climb?
Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Tahoe.

How has rock climbing and ODAL helped you develop as a person?

Climbing parallels life in a lot of ways. It’s taught me patience, given me more confidence and made me a stronger person. The ODAL program has given me those same tools.

How did you get the opportunity to write an article for Bayarea.com?

I have a journalism background and I have always wanted to pursue some type of writing. i have a connection with bayarea.com and the editor reached out to me. I sent him my resume and some of my work and photos, and he said, “This is great, you’ll be a great voice for our website.” That’s how it happened!

What journalism experience have you had prior to getting this gig?

I wrote for my high school newspaper and I did this journalism program at Stanford when I was 16. I’m still into it! Majoring in journalism, though, I feel like it would’ve taken the fun out of it.

Are you going to continue writing for Bayarea.com?
They have one article of mine and said it did fairly well. So, I’m currently writing another one about climbing in Berkeley.

Alyx hanging out at the Washoe Boulders in Nevada

Alyx hanging out at the Washoe Boulders in Nevada

How did these experiences benefit you in the future?
It’ll open doors and opportunities. I know I want to travel when I graduate, so this website will be a great outlet for me to write about all the areas I travel to while exploring California.

What are your post-grad plans?
I think my boyfriend and I are going to buy a van and drive around for a bit. We’ll figure out where we want to live, and we’ll climb! He wants to be a climbing guide and I plan on doing something with my outdoor leadership and environmental science skills, so both of our jobs can be in a variety of locations. I’d also love to freelance write.

Any advice to future ODAL students? Or to aspiring climbers?

Having a positive attitude is the biggest thing. If you go into anything with a negative attitude, you’re not going to get as much out of it as you would’ve if you went into it with an open mind.

Benefits of Interdisciplinary Learning

SNC is unique in their offering of an Interdisciplinary Studies major; students can choose two or three areas of study and develop it into a personalized major. Many students mix Outdoor Adventure Leadership with a complementary area of study, such as Journalism, Entrepreneurship, Ski Business & Resort Management or Environmental Science. Other students choose interdisciplinary majors such as Sustainability, Digital Arts & Journalism, or New Media Journalism.

I declared a major in Interdisciplinary Studies in Journalism and Outdoor Adventure Leadership last fall and am loving the mix of learning writing skills and leadership development in an outdoor setting.

This semester, I undertook two of my three required Interdisciplinary Studies classes: INTD 250: Principles of Interdisciplinary Learning and INTD 300: Service Learning. The INTD 250 class revolves around research-intensive assignments and projects that encompass all of the elements of each student’s major, and in the INTD 300 class, each student partners with a non-profit and dedicates 60 volunteer hours and a cumulative project to their organization. While there’s been points during the semester where I’ve wanted to drop everything and give up, they’ve both been extremely beneficial now that I reflect on my experience.

In INTD 250, I’ve been challenged to examine the links between all aspects of my education – links I’d completely overlooked before. In INTD 300, taking the skills i’ve learned in Journalism and ODAL and transferring them to a non-profit setting has given me the essential, invaluable real-world experience. Both classes embody SNC’s theme of professional preparedness.

In a college education system that doesn’t allow for much experimentation and creativity in degree tracks, the Interdisciplinary Studies program here at SNC is gold. I truly feel like I have designed my own degree and gained the utmost value out of my time here. I’ll be walking away with more than just a piece of paper come graduation.

Learning Multimedia Journalism at SNC

Since become a Journalism major and immersing myself in the program here at SNC, I’ve learned a thing or two about the ins and outs of writing successful, engaging stories.

Last semester, I took a class called Beginning Multimedia Journalism. I didn’t know what to expect, but in an increasingly technology-driven society, I knew it would be essential material to learn.

In the beginning class, we learned how to incorporate multiple types of media into journalism, such as digital, video, and audio media. We learned how to use Audacity, Google Maps, iMovie, Photoshop, and other programs to implement multimedia into our articles.

I enjoyed the class and decided to take Intermediate Multimedia Journalism this semester. Tanya, my teacher, created curriculum for me and the one other intermediate student, and geared the class as an independent study. We decided what we would focus our multimedia skills on, created a spreadsheet of our hours spent working for Tanya to review. We would also come into the beginner multimedia class every other week to share some insight with the beginner students and help post articles to the Eagle’s Eye website.

This semester, through Intermediate Multimedia Journalism, I have furthered my skills and created some impressive work to show for it. I decided to gear my learning towards social media by taking over the ODAL facebook page and making posts throughout the week. I also created blog posts (like this one!), worked with Rosie Hackett on other ODAL social media initiatives, took Google Analytics courses, and created an online portfolio to showcase my journalism work.

As my final project, I created a multimedia story using Readymag, an online web publication software. Here’s how it turned out:

https://readymag.com/530546

I’m extremely proud with how far I’ve come, both in this class and at SNC. The journalism program, thanks to its amazing faculty, has transformed me from a timid writer to a confident journalist. I couldn’t be happier with my education here at SNC.

Sustainability Film Festival

Last Friday, April 22nd, SNC Senior Marina McCoy hosted a film festival event to highlight Earth Day and raise awareness about the topic of food waste.

The first film showing was “Dive! The Film,” which follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of Los Angeles’ supermarkets. In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars worth of good, edible food – resulting in an inspiring documentary that is equal parts entertainment, guerilla journalism and call to action.

The second film was “Just Eat It! A Food Waste Story,” where Canadian filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant explore the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they embark on a six month journey to quit grocery shopping and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away.

The event was a large success – after the film, the room buzzed with passionate conversation as students, faculty and community members cycled through all their new knowledge.

McCoy is working to develop a composting system at SNC in order to combat waste on campus.

A big thanks to Marina for putting on an awesome event!