Calling Bullshit

Two professors from the University of Washington are teaching a class that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should have to take during their college career.  The course is aptly named Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.  Yes, it is an actual course offered for one credit.  They have published the syllabus and the reading material used in the course so that students at other universities can take advantage of the opportunity.

Follow this link to find out more:  http://callingbullshit.org

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Life Of A Cops Daughter

Stay Strong. Be Safe. Come Home.”

 

The words above may be simple, but have so much meaning. My dad is a Police Officer and has been for more than 20 years. His dedication and passion can be seen not only while he’s at work, but at home as well. It takes an incredibly strong person with so much determination and compassion to put on that uniform everyday and head to work, knowing he might not come home. He’s taught me how to be strong, how to be kind and compassionate and most importantly how to throw a mean punch and a swift kick to any man’s groin who tried to hurt me.

I always get asked, “How was growing up with a dad who was a Police Officer?”, “Has he ever shot someone?”, “Does he tell you all the cool stories?”. Being the sarcastic person I am, I have to bite my tongue to refrain from getting myself in trouble. To answer those questions, yes my dad has told me stories and no, not all of them were “cool” some were heartbreaking and disturbing, yes my dad has shot someone but only because his and his partners lives were in danger and growing up with a dad who is a Police Officer, I didn’t know any different. He was just my dad and did anything any other dad would do, the only difference being that he worked a range of long shifts and wore a bulletproof vest and badge to work. What people don’t realize is the family I gained because of my dad’s career choice. Those men and women became my aunts and uncles, the people who showed up to my birthday parties, school events, the ones who have attended my graduations and most importantly the ones who have seen me grow into the person I am today and helped solidify my appreciation for those in Law Enforcement.

When I was little I knew that my dad’s job was dangerous but didn’t truly understand what he went through everyday until I got older. My dad has always been my best friend, my hero and my number one supporter. So everyday when he’d get ready for work I would try my hardest to make sure he wasn’t able to go; whether it was clinging to his leg for dear life, tying the laces to his boots together in a zillion knots and on the rare occasion throwing his gun belt into my pool. The fear of something happening to him was always in the back of my mind, and became more prominent as I grew older.  

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Elementary school was a breeze and issues very seldom arose about the fact my dad was a cop. All my classmates found it “cool” that he was a Police Officer especially when he’d show up to school in his uniform just to have lunch with me or for school events. My dad was awesome that way, even though he had work, he always found time to come to my school events and tried to make my childhood as normal as possible. My middle school years were a different story, the kids were less accepting of what my dad did for a living and as a result I didn’t have many friends. Most my lunches were spent eating with the Resource Officer and my weekends were spent with my grandma because my dad was working undercover cases and didn’t know when he’d be able to come home. As I grew older and high school came around it became more apparent the stigma that came along with being a cops daughter and cops in general. They always assumed I was either a “goodie two shoes” or a “rebel who got away with everything,” the truth being I didn’t. I actually was held to a higher standard than most, getting away with lying was absolutely impossible and disappointing my dad was soul crushing. To this day I’m still held to those standards. They assumed all cops are “pigs” and are bad people, the truth being they aren’t. Just like anything else in this world there is good and there is bad, people unfortunately only choose to see the bad and what the media decides to show.

Today I still feel the way I always have and I couldn’t be more proud of who my dad is and what he does. His choice of a career has saved countless lives, and made him not only my hero but one to many others as well. The acts of senselessly killing those men and women in Law Enforcement breaks my heart, it makes my heart hurt for their families, their friends and their fellow Officers. People don’t realize how it feels to have your heart sink into your stomach when you hear there was a Police involved shooting, the sheer panic that goes through your mind and the sigh of relief when your dad finally answers his phone after the 100th time you call him and lets you know he’s okay. You don’t see the look on those Officers faces when they can breath knowing their fellow brother or sister is safe and how it effects them when they find out a fellow Officer has been hurt.

To Law Enforcement Officers – Stay Strong, Be Safe, Come Home.

 

Kilee Stepper

Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

9 factors international students consider when choosing to study abroad

International students abroad
http://www.schoolanduniversity.com/international-students

 

International students exist in almost every university around the globe. Especially, countries like the United States, Australia, UK, Canada, China, Japan, India and Germany that attract thousands of international students every year in both undergraduate and graduate level. So, what’s going through the head of international students before their arrival at the host university where they will live and study at?
Through this practical guide we will go through and highlight the factors the international students take into account before leaving their home country to study in a public or private university or college abroad.

Hope you enjoy it!

1. University reputation
“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving”
William Shakespeare, British poet, playwright and actor

Prestigious universities attract many international students every year. Sometimes, the competition among students is fierce, as the acceptance rate of some educational institutions is quite low so international students consider this is as an indicator of high-quality education and excellent academic background after graduation. Moreover, the reputation of the university includes other factors like world university rankings, researches and initiatives taken by the university to benefit the local community, and the country where the university is based in.

2. University tuition fees
“Studying is something I really love doing, and I just hope to have enough money for tuition”
Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russian former Women’s Chess Champion

“Money matters” play a crucial role at the selection of a university for the majority of international students, as the tuition fees for international students in some universities are relatively high and sometimes not affordable, even for wealthy families. That’s why many universities have a variety of scholarships or financial aid programs-loans, and tuition waivers-available to help incentivize students to make the decision to study abroad.

3. Safety
“You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.”
Sun Tzu, Military general, strategist and philosopher

Crime rates and public safety indicators in college towns or cities where universities are based are one of the factors that students take into consideration when it comes to safety while studying abroad. No student wants to get victimized or harmed by getting involved in criminal actions caused by third persons.
Parents especially are concerned about this issue since their child/children can put themselves in serious risks when they study in towns or cities where criminal actions occur very often or when the local community, university, and police are not able to take actions in order to prevent them.

4. Diversity
“Real cultural diversity results from the interchange of ideas, products, influences, not from the insular development of a single national style”
Tyler Cowen, American economist, academic and writer

International students consider the factor of diversity in the universities they apply for. “How many international students study in my university or what’s the percentage of international students here”, are two of the most common questions that international students ask the university advisors or look for on universities’ websites. It’s true that these students feel supported or welcomed by knowing there are other internationals who left their home countries for studies as they did, invested time, money & energy leaving behind the lives and comforts they had in their home countries and took similar risks by beginning a new life from scratch.

5. Job opportunities while studying
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”
Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur, marketer and inventor

International students trying to cover living expenses, tuition fees and other costs that may come up while abroad, in many cases seek to find job vacancies with flexible shifts in order for them to be in a position to work in parallel with their studies. Moreover, there are international students who pursue to gain practical experience in the subject of their interest or other major-related jobs by looking for major-related job openings.
In any case, international students are encouraged to apply for a job in parallel with their studies since the benefits they acquire are much more than just economic.

6. Second language fluency
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his mind. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”
Nelson Mandela, African anti-apartheid revolutionary politician and philanthropist

Most students who decide to cross their nation’s borders in order to study in foreign educational institutions have language barriers since they are not able to speak their native languages. Students may overcome these barriers by practising their foreign language skills on a regular basis with their classmates and teachers, by committing themselves in projects and presentations and by in-class participation. In this way international students are not only competitive students taking fairly high grades but also they get connected with native speakers and the local community of the country they live & study in.

7. Networking
My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score”
Harvey Mackay, American entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author

International students participate in social events thrown by the university or student organizations in order to meet and interact with people coming from all over the world expanding in this way, their network of people they get in touch with. Furthermore, they are in a position to build strong relationships with people who have similar experiences and also to build bridges with others that they don’t have so much in common with.

8. Student life and involvement
“The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
Vera Nazarian, Armenian-Russian writer

Student life is another factor that international students take into account before applying for a university abroad. International students are interested in getting involved and actively participate in student associations related to their majors, athletic teams and other groups (i.e. student government/council, student & university advocates etc.) pursuing not only to explore and enjoy diverse aspects of their student life but also to apply the experiences and influences they carry proving their ability and willingness to make an impact contributing in the development of the teams & groups they are members of.

9. Entertainment
“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either”
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher and public intellectual

As I said before, student life is not all about studies. Students feel the need to hang out with peers, to have fun and interact with people off-campus, to attend performances, go shopping, to stroll downtown or arrange short trips to other cities using public means of transport, trains or by renting a car. We should keep in mind that students feel relaxed when entertain themselves, chill and spend time with friends, practice activities they love and in general escape from an ordinary life which encompasses homework or projects.