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Features

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

The Arc of Monmouth: A One Stop Shop for Disability Services

The Arc of Monmouth is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. This is accomplished through advocacy services and supports, cooperation with community partners and community education.  The Arc of Monmouth also works to prevent the causes and effects of intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Director of Development at The Arc, Brett Colby, is in charge of all fundraising efforts put forth by the organization.

“There is a little bit of everything to do here. I get to work with a large staff, work with people with disabilities and I’m also in the community dealing with and interacting with the press, businesses and the community at large,” said Colby.

The major goal of The Arc financially is to increase fundraising. Colby said that the organizations government funding has not seen an increase in recent years while the cost of living has. Despite the difficulty of fundraising, however, Colby has a positive outlook on his job.

“It’s a very rewarding place, the fact that we can offer every service that someone would need in one place is exciting,” said Colby. “They don’t have to shop around.”

The Arc is not only in the constant process of fundraising for people with disabilities and their families, but they are also recovering from the damage to one of their sites during Hurricane Sandy. With their insurance unable to cover $100,000 worth of the damage, The Arc suffered a great financial loss in the storm.

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Staying Young in a Grown-Up World

College is often thought of as the last four years to be young before one is forced to enter the real world, but for many, the pressures to grow up begin during freshman year. The new responsibility of being on one’s own combined with juggling classes, friendships, work, athletics, and everything else that college has to offer can catapult college students into adulthood before they are ready.

In order to fight these pressures, members of the University community have come up with some simple ways to keep the inner child alive and combat the stress of growing up.

Sophomore Thomas Egan said that his trick to staying youthful is all in his attitude. “I guess I always keep a positive attitude on things and remember that it could always be worse,” he said.

Egan is also a member of the Student Activities Board (SAB) and said that being a part of a club and being able to participate in the fun events helps him to relieve stress and keep his mind off of school for a period of time. To stay in touch with his inner child, Egan said he enjoys listening to music and watching television shows that were popular when he was a child.

Sophomore Dylan Vargas relies on his friends to help him fight the pressures of growing up. He said that hanging out with his friends at night helps him to relieve some of the stress of the day. “Doing homework with friends or roommates makes it seem less tedious and reminds me that the people around me are in the same situation.”

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New SGA Senators Share Their Excitement

Ten new Student Government Association (SGA) senators were selected last month as representatives of not only their grade level, but the school as a whole. Six of the new senators agreed to discuss their interview process, goals for the new school year, and even the first SGA meeting.

“I want to leave my footprint on this school and change it for the better,” freshman Garrett Brown said. As an ice hockey player, he lives by Wayne Gretzky’s quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

“I’m not afraid to throw my ideas and myself out there. I want Monmouth to not be afraid to throw itself out there too,” Brown said. “We are a school of diversity and we can come together with each other’s ideas and work as a community.”

Brown values the school’s phrase “Hawks Fly Together,” as displayed on the newly printed agenda books that freshmen receive. Additionally, Brown is hoping to create changes in the Study Abroad Department.

“I really want to upgrade the Study Abroad Department to give more students access to Monmouth sponsored trips.”

Sophomore Trevor Rawlik was nervous for his interview because it was a panel of about 10 people and he was the last of 34 people to be interviewed. He came in his Student Ambassador’s work polo and waited an hour before being interviewed.

Though Rawlik was nervous, he spoke about his pride and love of the University. “I want everyone to enjoy Monmouth as much as I do by attending various events, volunteering and getting involved with campus life and activities,” Rawlik said. As a senator he hopes to gain leadership skills and be able to volunteer in various activities on campus.

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Fighting the Flu and Other Illnesses This Fall

It is now fall and that means more time inside with others and more cold, flu and stomach viruses going around.  This is not happening because of the cold weather, but because people are coming in closer contact with each other.

Freshman Jacqueline Burzo said that she had an early case of the bug. “The first week of October, I was sick with a cold. I did not think to use the Health Services on campus,” Vurzo said. “I do think sicknesses are more common when the weather changes because your immune system is down when it is cold outside.”

Sophomore Caliean Andel felt the same since the weather change caused her to feel a little sluggish. “I was not sick with a cold. I just had a little cough but it was nothing big.”

Living in the dorms also helps to spread these aliments quicker. This is because everyone is in tight quarters and because viruses can stay on surfaces for long periods of time if not cleaned. Also, the droplets that are inhaled when one does not cover his or her mouth when coughing can easily spread viruses.

This is especially the case in triples and suites where six to ten people share a small space.  Junior Rachel Fox recalled, “While I did not go to the health center, I came down with a bad stomach bug around finals week.  Someone in my suite got it, then my friend and I got it a few hours later.  This was very unpleasant because I was feeling ill all night, but I could only let it run its course.”

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The Khan Academy Innovates Education

A Free Online Learning Resource Serves as a Tool for Both Teachers and Students

Reaching a total of 1.4 million subscribers, the Khan Academy has marched forward on actualizing its mission to provide a “free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.”

The non profit website, led by ex-hedge fund analyst turned education pioneer Salman Khan, has uploaded over 3,840 YouTube mini-lectures spanning topics from K-12 math, calculus, physics, biology, chemistry, economics, finance, computer science, and world history. The ten-minute videos, which have garnered an impressive 312 million YouTube views, are only half of what the Khan Academy has to offer.

An infinite amount of unique problems can be generated to provide additional practice on mastering the material at hand. Not only do students have access to this expansive problem set, they also have step-by-step hints to understand the problem-solving process to get to the correct answers.

Though Khan’s idea of an online school is not unique, it is his lax teaching style and ability to explain difficult concepts in a concise manner that has allowed the website to gain the momentum it has now. The complex calculus problems manifested by Khan’s doodles with a pen tablet are recorded by screen capture software and narrated by his voice as he never shows himself on the camera.

“I like you better on YouTube than in person,” Khan’s cousin Nadia told him after watching his first tutorial on least common multiples.  Despite its amusing sentiment, Nadia’s comment sheds light on an ulterior framework of thinking that Khan has been trying to understand and address.

The virtual classroom, unlike its physical counterpart, is free of the confines of social intimidation prevalent in typical classrooms where only a handful of students dare to ask questions. With the videos however, no instructor is asking “Do you understand this topic?” as he or she waits to begin covering the next set of lectures. 

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Quality Research Resources: Let’s Google It

Google is a vast portal of information on everything from news to recipes to song lyrics and more. It is the simplest form of finding research, some would say, but does simple research mean quality content?

Dr. Rebecca Sanford, associate professor of communication, said that Google is used extensively by students. "I think that it becomes just a given that if you don't know something or want to know more about something, Googling is the way to access information," Sanford said. She added that Google is a great resource that most people have right at their fingertips. With smartphones, we can get the information we want, when we want it.

However, Google has its flaws in terms of serious research. "The internet is a democracy. It has all sorts of information at ranging levels of accuracy," said Sanford. "I may find information, but the credibility of my information may or may not be as strong as it should be."

Because information is so easy to find, our overconfidence in determining good research from bad often causes us to lose respect for the research process, according to Sanford. Researchers may in turn mistake an inaccurate source of information as being credible.

Dr. Marina Vujnovic, assistant professor of communication, teaches an online journalism class where she discusses top level domain with her students. "Those things that are on top of the search when you search for something, it's not because it's the best. It's because they paid to be there," Vujnovic said.

One of the websites that is most commonly at the top of any search is Wikipedia. Most professors forbid students to use Wikipedia, which can be edited by any internet user. Vujnovic, however, does not tell her students that they cannot use it. She allows her students to do research on Wikipedia as long as they are using the direct reference links on the bottom of each information page.

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Learning is Not a No-Brainer

right-and-left-brainWhat is the best way to learn? There are many different suggestions, options and theories out there that boast the most effective way to learn or study. Two most common are the "Left Brain, Right Brain Theory" and the "VARK Model." But there is much controversy against these theories, so how are students supposed to learn? There has been a discovery of a process called "desired difficulty" that has shown very promising results when the students' recollection of information was tested.

The Left Brain, Right Brain Theory has been around since the 1960's when an epileptic had their brain split, separating the right and left hemisphere, severely limiting communications between the sides. People developed theories that one side of the brain was dominant and therefore your personality reflected the traits attributed to the dominant half. For example left brained people were viewed as logical, systematic and organized. While right brained people were seen as more artistic, intuitive and expressive. This theory really bloomed through time and people even adapted the idea into learning styles.

Hypothetically, left brained people would learn better through reading, taking notes and right brained people preferred lectures, visuals and hands-on experiences. However many recent studies have disproven this theory.

Dr. Jack Demarest, psychology professor, explained while each side of the brain does process certain information first, the brain shares the info with the other half almost instantly. With the whole theory disproven, the learning style becomes obsolete as well.

Some students, however, still believe in the right and left brain learning styles. "I think that there is some truth to this theory," said Junior Lindsey Pieschl. "While there are different things the left and right hemispheres are known for, most processes are so intertwined it is hard to tell which side of the brain they come from.

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October is Disability Awareness Month

disability-awarenessOctober is Disability Awareness Month and students and faculty are encouraged to learn more about disabilities from events that will occur throughout the month. Students and staff were greeted by an email on the first day of October, highlighting the many events and the importance of Disability Awareness Month.

Many people do not know how much time is spent increasing awareness on these issues. Many things can be done to assist individuals with special needs on campus. Meredith Courtney, freshman, is excited about the upcoming activities. She was not aware that October is Disability Awareness Month until the month began. "I think that it is great that October is dedicated to bringing awareness to people with disabilities," said Courtney. "I believe that it is unfortunate that the month is also shared with other issues such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Bullying Prevention Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness and many, others. I think that disability awareness is being overlooked because it is being shared with so many other awareness causes."

Courtney said she hadn't heard of Disability Awareness Month until very recently. "Personally, I wish that more people were aware that this month is Disability Awareness Month because so many people in our world suffer from disabilities and other humans tend to take their lives for granted."

Krysten Brannick, junior education major, shared the same idea. "I feel that it is necessary to have disability awareness because all students and faculty should know about the importance of having disabilities resources on campus," said Brannick.

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Seeing Through the Eyes of a Commuter

GIbson_AmrillaThe University has such a wide spread community that gives commuters just as many opportunities as residents. The only difference is the distance that one has to travel to make it here. Some say it is worth it, and others say they would never even consider it.

Commuting to any school is a challenge, whether it's driving an hour every day, five days a week or looking for a parking spot for sometimes 20 minutes. However, even with all of the different schedules that commuters and residents have at the University, on campus all students are united and share common interests and goals.

Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services, said, "Commuter and off-campus students can take advantage of a number of the opportunities that resident students may access. However, the fact that they are commuting from a home or local address will always introduce a level of difference between resident and commuter students." He added that family and responsibilities at home affet the extent to which commuter students are involved on campus.

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What Can Grad School Do for You?

What do you want to do after you get your undergraduate degree? That seems to be an age-old question that makes almost every student cringe when it comes up in conversation.  It is scary to think that after four years, it is expected of us to be thrusted into the work force, ready to hit the ground running. However, there are other options after graduation for students, such as graduate school, which student Jessica Kimball has taken advantage of to further her education.

“For me personally, it was just easier to transition into a Master’s program where I received my undergraduate. I knew the school, and I didn’t have to go searching because we do have good programs here,” explained Kimball, 23, who is currently working on getting her Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) at the University. “The problems with the economy and the job market is what helped me in deciding to pursue graduate school. That and my graduate assistantship.”

The Leon Hess Business School at the University holds an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation, which is the top accreditation possible. Because of this factor, Kimball decided to transfer to the University from Ramapo College to receive her undergraduate in Business Administration, and now her graduate degree.

“Ramapo was just receiving their AACSB while I was there, and I knew that it wouldn’t really have any weight on my degree there like it would here,” said Kimball.

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A Safe Haven for Study Struggles

There is a big exam coming up in your toughest class and you didn’t understand the homework. Your professor’s office hours do not work with your heavy class schedule and this test counts for half of your grade. Before you decide to withdraw from the class, leaving your transcript with a big ‘W’ for the rest of your college career, be sure to make use of all of the available resources that the University offers. For example, visit the Tutoring and Writing Services located in the Center for Student Success on the lower level of the student center.

Dorothy Cleary, Director of Tutoring and Writing Services, has been working to help students with their academic difficulties for the past two years, this semester marking the start of her third year. Prior to joining the University staff, Cleary had worked in the K-12 tutoring industry for 11 years. She wanted to move up to the University level, and interviewed for the position after seeing an ad in a local newspaper. “I enjoy it,” Cleary said. “It’s hard sometimes, but overall I enjoy it.”

Tutoring and Writing Services is a free resource for students who need help understanding their class subjects. They can request a tutor for a specific class online and Cleary works to match them with another student who has taken and excelled in the class. All peer tutors have a 3.0 GPA or better and were hired based on invitation, according to Cleary.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu