Category Archives: Interdisciplinary Studies

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!

ODAL Alumni Spotlight: Erica Nelson

13045387_928046317611_438165957_nName: Erica Nelson

Major: BA in Psychology with ODAL Minor

Graduated: May 2015

What Erica has to say:

“A major component I took away from ODAL is finding my most effective leadership style. Also that Expedition Behavior (EB) goes a long way even out of the wilderness and transferrable in any work environment. ODAL has also given me risk management tools and information to do rad things on weekends like rafting, climbing, solo backpacking, and feeling confident and comfortable leading others. Since graduation I’ve traveled to India, summited Mt. Whitney (with fellow ODAL grads), one of my favorite jobs was creating and developing curriculum for a summer camp in Lake Tahoe, then implementing it and seeing it roll into action. I spent my weekends river guiding on the South Fork American River with various companies including OARS, H2O Adventures, and Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC). I recently ended my winter seasonal position at Northstar in Human Resources, and now currently work on the Admissions and Marketing team at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Headquarters in Lander, WY. I truly believe the skills and ethics I learned from ODAL has continued to provide opportunities for me in my leadership development and career.”

“Stay together, send it, and be styley.”

ODAL Alumni Spotlight: Scout Sorcic

Scout Sorcic

Scout Sorcic

Name: Scout Sorcic

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in ODAL and Ski Business/Resort Management

Graduated: December 2015

What Scout has to say:
“ODAL taught me to be open to new experiences and to raise my hand, share my ideas, learn from others and to have fun! I am in the transition period with my degree but will spend the summer working with the Colorado Outward Bound School out of their Moab, UT base as a logistics coordinator. I am looking into graduate assistantships for next fall/spring as my next academic move (But I am LOVING not being tied to a place or a school and skiing/rafting everyday for work).
I think what makes ODAL so cool is the hands on learning and the places you get to spend your “class time” as well as the relationships you develop. I know going forward I will always have a support network that understands seasonal jobs, moving from place to place and who aren’t afraid to share beta on the cool spots they have been since leaving Tahoe.”

ODAL Alumni Spotlight: Conner Wagner

Photo by Conner Wagner

Photo by Conner Wagner

Name: Conner Wagner

Graduated: December 2014

Major: INTD in ODAL and Entrepreneurship

What he’s been up to: Graduating with my ODAL degree has given me a huge advantage in locking in jobs that allow me to travel and continue to pursue what I am passionate about. As soon as I graduated from SNC I landed a job with an awesome surf camp in Nicaragua as a surf guide. I spent half a year taking people surfing up and down the Nicaraguan coast and got paid for it. Now I am planning a return trip, but this time with the goal of opening my own place. My own little surfers paradise.