Media Production Project

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

CTE can be defined as chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is a disease that affects the nervous system.  Previously, Alzheimer’s disease was linked to professional football players and military veterans due to bombs and explosions, but an earlier study showed that constant hits to the head can result in this disease, even in the absence of a concussion.  The most serious cases of people who have this disease is usually people who played contact sports and had repeated head injuries while playing.

To conduct this study, the brains of four deceased athletes who were 17 or 18 years old were analyzed. The commonality between the four athletes is that they all played football, and they all passed away between the time frame of one day to four months of having a head injury related to the sport. After all four brains were analyzed, there was visible changes to the brain that included leaking blood vessels and abnormal buildups of the protein tau, which can be linked to CTE disease.  These four brains were compared to four other brains of athletes the same age who have not had any head injuries before passing away, and when analyzed, there was no change to their brain. Their findings from looking at the brains under a microscope was that once they experienced a head injury, it caused the brain to change.

Even without a concussion, if someone has a head injury, this can still have an effect on the brain in the way it changes.  The problem is not the concussion, it is the side effects from the concussion that are making it questionable how it affects the brain.  They are currently trying to find a way to detect earlier in life if someone has the disease so that they could be treated. They are also trying to figure out how genetics and exposure to head trauma play a role in determining this disease.   

This same experiment was performed on mice in that they let mice experience a similar trauma that humans would experience when playing football.  It was called the “blast model” and this model was to simulate a head trauma. The results of this showed that the outcome was very similar to the human brain in that the mouse brain changed similarly to how the human brain changed after experiencing a head injury, and it helps to determine if this is what triggers the CTE disease.  Also, researchers found that the only way to determine if someone has the disease would be from an autopsy after they have passed away. Also, this disease can affect young athletes and can progress for the rest of that individuals life time.

Reflection:  Overall, summarizing the research article was a bit challenging because there was a great amount of important information given in the article.  A lot of the information from the scholarly article was not used because the original document was very large, and filled with the many experiments performed and the results.  I decided to just use the main tests that were presented in the news article, but I also made sure to incorporate more in depth results from the scholarly article.  For this article, it was important to just pay attention to the key details because most of the article was hard to understand, and I felt that maybe the average reader would not fully understand the findings since they were stated in scientific terminology.  There was also a lot of research that supported the findings, especially research that related to the brain, and there was multiple statistical results that were also not used because they were hard to understand.  Another thing that I tried to include in my summary was the answer to the five critical questions when analyzing research.  I did this because when writing the summary for the scholarly article and the news article, it was important to try to see if these five questions were answered.  It was important to try to include these five answers to the questions in the summary because these answers are essential when analyzing the research.

My perspective of journalists has changed in that I now see how much work is required for a news article.  It takes a great deal of knowledge for the author of the article to try to make sense of the journal article, and to analyze it and put it words that the average reader would understand.  Also, I realized another challenge that these authors may face is interpreting the article and being able to accurately portray the findings, without changing the meaning of the results.  When reading the scholarly article, it was noted that a few times there were differences in results between that article and the news article.

Kounang, Nadia. “Repeated Hits, Not Concussions, Linked to CTE.” CNN, Cable News

Network, 18 Jan. 2018,


Tagge, et al. “Concussion, Microvascular Injury, and Early Tauopathy in Young Athletes after

Impact Head Injury and an Impact Concussion Mouse Model | Brain | Oxford Academic.”OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 18 Jan. 2018,

Spotlight Blog #3

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

A big conflict in today’s society is the issue of whether or not school should be year round.  Some people find that it is very beneficial for school to be year round, and some people think that it is a disadvantage for students to attend school year round.

The first article, “Research Spotlight on Year- Round Education” talks about how many schools in the United States still go by a 10- month calendar, giving two months off for the summer.  Some people think that this system is “outdated” and that schooling should be moved to year- round.  The author talks about different styles of schooling, mentioning that the most popular is the 45-15 plan.  This means that students will attend school for 45 days, and then have 15 days off. This includes the holidays which schools would give breaks for.  The author also mentions two other plans which would be the 60-20 and the 90-30.  If schooling were to be changed to this, the most important part would be how the schools implemented it.  This brings up the idea of will schools follow the single track schedule, where all students get the same break, or will they follow the multi-track schedule, where students are broken into groups, and these groups go to school at different times and they have different vacation times.  A benefit of the multi-track is that the schools can then enroll more students since not everyone is attending school at once.  The author then mentions a few reasons why people argue for year round education, which include students forgetting a lot of information during summer break, so with year round schooling, this will help students to retain more information.  Also, the use of the school will be more efficient because instead of the building being empty for two months, it will still be in use all year.  The final reason is that during the school year, teachers can help the students with any learning problems they may encounter.

Another article that supports year round schooling is written by Matthew Lynch, where he explores three main reasons for switching the schooling system.  He begins by explaining that only about 10% of United States schools use the year round schooling system, and he expresses that it is time to switch to this so that students in the United States are not falling behind other countries academically.  He justifies this claim with three different reasons to support this.  The first reason is that students will actually remember what they learn in class.  The author mentions that if students are in school year round, then students will not “unlearn” information that took hard work and a lot of time to learn.  He then talks about a study that was performed in 2007 by Ohio State University.  The findings for this study are that there is no differences in the way students learn if they are in school year round or on a traditional schedule.  Also, research from the National Summer Learning Association shows that it can take from 8-13 weeks at the beginning of the school year for teachers to get students back to the pace of learning new information.  The second reason is that students who speak English as a second language, economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities are more affected by the summer break.  This is because they are not “on task” and they are not doing a lot of things academically at home.  Also, the drop out rates for these students are a lot less when in school year round because they have less time to get used to being away from school, and they have less time to work.  He explains that this could be an advantage because high school graduates on average earn $11,000 more per year than someone with a GED, so not working over the summer if it was year round schooling would be beneficial in the long run.  Lastly, the author states that students will like school.  He explains this by saying that kids will start to have closer relationships with their teachers since they will be seeing them more often.  Also, students will still feel like they are in school mode because they are not taking a long time off, and do not have to get back into the schedule of things.  Also, from a research study, it showed that students in year round schools have more self- confidence, have fewer insecurities, and have more positive feelings towards school.

Oppositely, the article, “Should School be Year Round?” by Bailee Flanagan, begins by showing the reader two pi charts; one of traditional school schedule, and the other is of a year round schedule.  This chart is a nice way to visualize the two possibilities of the school calendars.  The author immediately begins by mentioning that students do not like to have their summers taken away from them, and says that while school in the summer would let students be able to learn more, there are some negative effects to this.  The first being a decrease in spending time with family, there are no breaks for students and teachers, and the lack of real life experiences with their friends.  The first negative effect is that students and teachers do not get a break.  This is important to have because it allows for students to just relax and recharge before having to think about school again.  This is beneficial because if students do not have a mental break, then they can become overwhelmed, which can then lead to them not performing well academically.  If students do not have a break, then they will not be prepared to learn, and will constantly look bored.  Students tend to lose their motivation when they do not have breaks, but it could be motivating to them when they know that a break is coming up in the near future.  The second negative effect is that students will not be able to spend as much time with their families.  The author says having quality family time is important for the “emotional and developmental well being of a child.”  When kids are in school all year around, it is hard to plan family vacations, and therefore, kids do not get to spend as much time with their families.  A final negative experience is that students do not get to experience real life situations with their friends.  A few examples of this is summer camps or jobs.  If kids are in school during the summer, then they are unable to attend summer camps and make new friends, or they are unable to get a job to have a little bit of extra money for themselves.

Another article that has a similar stance is called, “From Our Archives: Year Round School Bad Idea for Students.”  Immediately the author expresses that he thinks that this is a bad idea, and thinks that it will impact students in a negative way.  The author brings up many important arguements for why this would not be a positive thing to do.  The first is that many students would get tired of going to school, therefore, many kids would drop out.  Students look forward to the summer as a time to relax and take a break from school work, and they also use it as a bit of motivation to finish out the year.  The second example is that students like to enjoy the summer, and they do so by playing sports, going to camps, and spending time with friends and family.  If there was school during the summer, then it would stop them from spending this time with their family, and this is something most kids look forward to.  A final part is that some students use the summer as a way to earn some money by getting a part time job, which could help them start to save for college.  Some students feel it is too overwhelming to get a job during the school year, which is why they wait until the summer.  If they have classes during the summer, they will not not be able to work, and therefore will not be able to make a small earning.

Overall, after reading the articles, I felt like the authors did a nice job in the way they presented their arguments, and how they had evidence to support their claims.  According to the articles above, I think that most kids would probably benefit from school all year around.  It seems as if the summer break is not something as beneficial to students because most kids are not learning anything new over the break.  Also, it is harder for students to retain information that was previously learned, which translates to the next school year because it is even harder for students to get right back on track after coming back from a long break.  Also, with the way this would be set up, it still allows for students to have a mental break and relax from school work.

Spotlight Blog #2

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

Many people experience stress, which can be defined as a response to a situation that threatens one’s sense of well being.  Stressors are something that triggers a stress response which can be something little like stressing over a test, or it can be something bigger like medical concerns.  Whether the stressor is small or long lasting, both can cause people large amounts of stress which can affect their everyday life.  Stress can target many different audiences such as college students, athletes, and parents, and for each specific group, there can be different coping mechanisms.

The first audience that this can relate to is college students.  This is because college students are under high levels of stress because there is much more work to be completed, and the professors expect more out of the students.  Especially freshman, they find that their first semester is very stressful, so it is important for these students and all students to develop new habits so that they can get used to things since it will be different than high school.  According to the University of Michigan, there are pros and cons to stress.  A pro is that it can help you avoid danger, and it can keep you motivated.  If stress builds up, this can affect different things such as sleeping, concentration, and school work.  They suggest a few ways to try to manage or reduce the amount of stress you are having.  The first way is to find a balance in your schedule, which means to find time for what must get done, like attending class and finishing homework, but then also find time to relax and give yourself a mental break.  This forces you to have a good sense of time management, which is an essential skill to everyday life.  A second suggestion is to start a journal.  This would be helpful because you could write down everything that is causing you to feel stressed.  When these thoughts are written down, if it is school related, you could then prioritize what is needed to be completed first, and then you can cross items off of the list, which will give you satisfaction.  A third way to manage stress is to have good sleeping habits.  Usually college students will stay up late at night trying to finish homework, but this can cause you to feel worse off because you will be sleep deprived, causing you to feel more stressed.  I think that these strategies provided will be successful because finding a balance and having good sleep habits are essential to life even after college.  These strategies are adaptive strategies because they are aiming to improve the situation without causing other problems.

The second audience this topic can relate to is athletes.  This is because athletes have a lot to focus on all at one time such as homework, practices, games, and training outside of practice to prepare.  This can cause them stress because there is so much to do in so little time.  The author Christie Morton, of the article, “Stress Management techniques for Sports,” says that there are three components to managing stress.  The first is cognitive restructuring, which “helps you think through a situation.”  The way to perform this is to write down what is making you feel stressed, write down your thoughts about it, and then write down how you plan to overcome the situation.  The message of this is to plan ahead and write down ways to improve yourself for the future.  The second part is all about visualization, which means that you see yourself achieving a goal that you set for yourself.  An example could be seeing yourself medal at a track meet, or scoring a goal during your soccer game.  This motivates you to keep going, and it will make you get through some of the hardest moments while training.  A third part is guided relaxation, which could be playing calming music so that you can relax your muscles.  By listening to calming music and doing deep breathing exercises, this will help relax your muscles because they will not be as tense as they are when stressed.  I also think that these strategies will be helpful because a part of overcoming tough situations is believing in yourself that you can do it.  This could go along with self- indulgence because it can be stressful to play a sport, but you can do something pleasant to deal with stress which could be having a pass with someone or shooting a basketball which deals with your sport, but does not cause you to feel more stressed.

The final audience that this can relate to is parents.  This is because they are worried about finances, work, and raising a family.  One way is to talk about problems or stress with your children.  If you notice that they are stressed it would be best to approach them and ask them to talk about what is on their mind.  If you are able to have this conversation with your children, then it might help them a little bit because they know that someone is willing to help them.  Also, this will lead to good communication which can help when it comes to problem solving.  This could be seen as emotion- focused coping because it will help parents to focus on feelings that their children have due to a stressor.  A second way is to create a healthy environment.  Different areas around you can contribute to stress, so trying to work in a different area could be beneficial.  Also, cleaning up messy areas can help because it will make you feel less stressed and it is something that you can control.  Finally, it is important to change one habit at a time.  If you try to change multiple things all at once, you will be overwhelmed, and it can cause you to feel stressed, which is what you are trying to avoid.  Also, changing one thing at a time can lead to success, which can then encourage you to accomplish more.  I think that these strategies provided will be successful because it is important to take things one step at a time, and to have good communication skills.  This could be considered as adaptive strategy because parents are trying to improve the situation without having other problems arise.


Johari Window Blog Post

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

Last week I had eleven people fill out the Johari Window for personality traits that describe me.  This was able to show me how the traits I picked for myself compared to what others thought of me.  For myself, I picked that I was quiet, friendly, helpful, trustworthy, and organised.  When reviewing my results, 54% of people agree that I am friendly, 54% think that I am kind, and 63% of people agree that I am trustworthy.  From these results and viewing what everyone thought of me, my description of myself and what others think is very similar.  This is because four out of the five traits that I picked for myself, were picked at least once by someone from the list of eleven people.  This is a good test to take because you can think of yourself as one way, but this is a good way to see how others view you because they could view you as the complete opposite of how you think your personality is.  I think that this is a valid measure of personality because the people who were asked to do this are probably good friends with whoever asked them to do this, so they are fully aware of your personality and how you act.  To make the results possibly a little more accurate you could have a few anonymous people who you do not know observe you and see what they think of your personality by completing this.  From this, you could learn a few things about yourself.  When looking through the characteristics that these few people picked about me, people also thought of me as kind, accepting, and dependable.  Overall, I thought this was a neat way to determine personality.


First Impression Post Week 9

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

For this week’s post, I decided to choose option 2, which was to take a test to see how good you are at reading emotions.  According to the online test I am around the average for reading expressions because my score was 12/20.  After taking the test, I thought I would have done a little better because I do not think I’m the worst at reading expressions, but I am certainly not the best either.

Overall, I thought that this test was a credible test because I felt like it did a good job of testing if people truly knew which emotion was expressed by the correct facial expression.  When taking the test I felt like some emotions were easier to spot than others.  This was because some of the facial expressions were hard to tell apart and for most questions I was down to two answers, but would get the two mixed up.  Some of the emotions I was able to spot rather quickly was shame, pain, surprise, sadness, amusement, and pride.  This was because some of these are common facial expressions that people see daily, where as some of the expressions people do not see all the time.  Some emotions that were hard to tell apart and that I mixed the two up were sadness and anger, shame with embarrassment, and sadness with compassion.  Some of these were tricky to define; for example, the picture that was given for the emotion disgust did not look like a face that I would consider disgust, so some of the emotions were confusing.  Also, I noticed that it was hard to judge and tell the different smiles apart.  One thing that I did like about the test was that after you answered the question, it gave a detailed summary and it gave a connection.

This information could be used in my daily life because now I know what emotions to look for and hopefully now I will be able to tell emotions better.  Also, being able to read emotions could help signal if something is wrong with a friend or family member and then that could tell you that maybe you need to give them space or try to help them in some sort of way.

First Impression Post Week #9

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

As a college student, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between school work, friends, outside clubs, and taking care of yourself.  One of the main concerns with college students is that they do not get a proper amount of sleep at night.  Overall, I would say that my current sleep habits are fair, but there is still room to improve them.

Right now, I usually am in bed by 11:00-11:30, sometimes later, but I usually do not fall asleep until after 12, which means that I get roughly 7 hours of sleep, and sometimes less because I have an 8 a.m. class every morning.  I think that this is a realistic goal for college students considering  some people are involved in sports, clubs, like to go to the gym, and other activities of interest.

My goal to improve my sleeping habits are to be in bed by 10:30 because now, some mornings I wake up and feel like I cannot function because I am exhausted.  Usually it is because I am up late studying or finishing homework, and I do not like to go to bed until I am finished all of my homework and complete everything that I had planned to do that day.  Most days, I plan out everything I have to do that day and what homework needs to be completed, but sometimes I do not follow the schedule and will take more time on a specific assignment than planned, or stay a little longer at dinner with the team, but it is okay to get off schedule once in a while.

To improve this, I will try to complete my homework faster and on days where I know I will have a lot of homework, I will make a specific schedule for that day including times to start and end things.  Also, I will try to finish as much homework as I can, but if I do not finish it all, I will go to bed instead of trying to finish it.  This will be beneficial because I can always finish the assignment the next day, and I will learn to keep myself on a schedule and hopefully I will not be as tired during class, not interfering with learning.

Spring Break First Impression Prompt – Sensation & Perception

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

This week I decided to watch the Ted Talk by Daniel Tammet where he explained his experience of synesthesia.  I thought that this video was actually very interesting because it helped the viewer to actually visualize how people experience situations differently.  I liked how he began to say that different perceptions are how we acquire knowledge, and I agree with this because if someone views a situation differently, they can explain it to you so that you can see it the way they do, and you will learn something new since you are viewing it differently.  Throughout the video Tammet explains to us that he sees sketches as colors.  He explained this by putting up a picture with many labeled drawings.  I thought it was neat how he told us he associates these with colors, but most people would just associate them with black and white, where he explained them to be blue and green.  Another part that I thought was interesting was how he explained his thinking when solving the math problem 64 x 75.  I liked how he pictured it as a chess board and simplified it down to 16 x 16 because he was able to visualize the problem in his head as 100 small squares.  His final thought he explained was how words express relationships.  He gave a sample sentence, and then showed us that he likes of sentences as pictures so that he can get the full meaning of the sentence.  I thought it was very neat to visualize these situations how he does because I would have never thought of these situations in the same way that he did.

This condition could affect someones day to day life in many different ways.  The main way I am thinking of is possibly in school.  This could affect someone in school because if they read something, they could picture the words as drawings and maybe that would help them to better understand material.  Also, maybe people with this condition could be able to solve math problems quicker because they can find patters in the problems similarly to how Tammet solved the math problem in the video.  This could also possibly affect people in the way they express thoughts and emotions.  I think this because when Tammet painted a picture, he used certain colors to show his emotions and he also sees different words in color so maybe certain words relate to different emotions and colors.



First Impression Post Week 7

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

Addiction is a serious problem in today’s world, and I feel as if these people should receive as much help as possible in order to better themselves.  To receive help, there are two ways in doing so.  The first is the abstinence model and the second is the harm reduction model.  When comparing the abstinence model and the harm reduction model, the abstinence model will make people get away from drugs/ alcohol, but with the harm reduction model, it is not stopping the addiction, it is just reducing it.

When answering the question of which model I would recommend if a loved one needed help, I would definitely pick the abstinence model.  I would pick this model because people will be completely stopping alcohol/drug use in order to turn their life around.  They could attend the AA meetings, and with this in mind, the goal for the person is to recognize that they have a problem, and realize that they need to make an effort to fix it.  These meetings will help by talking to these people in order to help them realize that drugs/alcohol are not the answer.  With this in mind, I would not recommend the other model because the addiction is not being stopped, and drugs/alcohol are still being used, but not as intensely, and the goal is for them to not use these anymore.

Spotlight Blog #1

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

In today’s society, divorce is becoming a more and more common thing between couples.  This topic will generate many different standpoints in that some people may say that it can be a positive thing, but others feel that it can impact families in a very negative way for the rest of their lives.  The main area being looked at with this topic is how divorce can or will affect children in the long term and the short term.

The first article is titled, “The Long Term Affects of Divorce on Children,” where the author argues that being raised by parents who are happy in their marriage can help prevent their child from mental, physical, educational, and social problems.  The first main point is how divorce can lead to anxiety and depression, and how if children see their parents argue, they will think they are the root of the problem and forever blame themselves.  Also, this can be caused by children feeling that they need to side with one parent over the other, but they do not know who to choose.  This will negatively effect kids because this will lead them to having trouble in school, or using drugs and alcohol because they are feeling very depressed about the situation at hand.  A second way this could effect kids is through the establishment of unhealthy relationships.  According to a study that lasted 20 years, it was shown that children who’s parents are divorced, they are more likely to get a divorce as well.  This affects relationships because children with divorced parents have a harder time with problems solving skills that are valuable.  This is a credible source because the author mentions studies to explain his reasoning and also referring to the American Psychological Association for specific facts.

Following this idea that a divorce is harmful to children is another article titled, “The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce.”  The author states that divorce has shown to reduce a child’s success in every aspect of life such as relationships with family, education, emotional state of being, and even in the workforce.  The author mentions how children usually will no longer see their parents an equal amount of time because they usually are with one parent over the other.  These children have a higher chance of living in poverty rather than being financially stable, living with both parents.  Lastly, the child may lose important relationships with other relatives due to the family splitting up and not being able to communicate with them.  This is a credible source because the author incorporates lots of factual evidence and also includes many outside sources to support her claims.

Opposite of this stance is the article, “Divorce Not Always Bad For Kids,” where the author opens by stating that according to a new study, couples staying together for the sake of their kids can actually be more harmful than helpful.  The author also talks about how children who grew up with their parents constantly fighting, were actually better off when they became adults.  This is explained by the researcher Gager, because they state that children overcome the divorce as they get older, and it is better if their parents got a divorce so that they were not constantly exposed to the fighting.  A final key point is that a parent’s level of happiness did not effect how well a child developed relationships later in life.  This is also a credible article because the author was able to support the facts presented through a research study at Montclair State University.

The final article, “How Divorce Effects Children” begins by saying that the way people parent their children after a divorce can help them through it more easily.  The first main point is that if the parents make it as stress free as possible, the better for the child it will be.  The author also mentioned that although it is said that kids can develop anxiety and depression, most kids do not because their parents make the transition easier on them, which helps them think that they are still regular kids regardless of the status of their parents.  A final important part of this article is the study the author conducted with 99 college students whose parents were divorced, and the types of feelings they have towards the situation.  The author explains that parents should not keep their children from having these different emotions about the divorce, instead let them feel these emotions because they are allowed to feel this way.  This is a credible article because the author has his PhD in psychology, is a Professor of Psychology, and  included the results of the study with a graphic to support it and let the reader visualize the results.

Overall, I think that it is not necessarily a bad thing if parents have to get a divorce if that is the only way to resolve the issue.  I think that parents should try to stick together as long as possible because this will be best for their child  If this does not happen, then I agree with the last article in that the way they parent the child after this, and even while going through this tough time, they should make it seem as stress free as possible so that the child is not overwhelmed, and think that it is their fault.  After reading all four articles I think that a divorce does have short term affects on a child, but as the child gets older they will understand the situation more and start to accept what has happened and be fine in their future.



First Impression Post Week 6

--Original published at Rachel's Blog

For this week’s post, I decided to talk about option 1, which relates to study habits.  This is because I think many college students including myself have trouble learning new study habits when they make the switch from high school to college.  I in particular had trouble switching the way I studied because in high school I did not have to study for my classes as much as I do now.  I was used to studying a few days before a test, but once I got to college, I realized that that would no longer work as that is not enough time to study.

A study habit that I do well is that I usually start studying for a test one week in advance.  If it’s a math class, I will try to complete as many homework problems as I can to make sure that I understand key concepts, but for other classes I will keep rereading my notes.  Depending on the class, I will make flashcards and try to find an online activity such as a matching game to test myself to make sure I understand the material.  A few things that I need to improve on is after every class I need to immediately review my notes and hopefully more information will stick in my brain.  Also, I need to make use of flashcards more frequently as a way to actually test myself on information, rather than just saying yes I know this, or no I need to study this a bit more.

For the first exam, the way I studied was that I looked over my notes every day for a week leading up to the day of the exam.  I also reread the book the night before and made flashcards.  A change that I will make for next time is that I will read my notes more frequently, maybe twice a day.  I will also make flashcards sooner rather than later so that I have more time to test myself on this information.