Alleged Cancellation of Chapman’s Career Readiness Programs

Photo of the Office of Career and Professional Development. Photo by Katie Whitman

Chapman students are disheartened over the apparent cancellation of the ATLAS, Compass, and Summit career readiness programs offered by the Career Development Center.

“I’m upset because Chapman likes to say it’s a small university that encourages personalized attention but the truth is this place operates like a business which puts big numbers before the individual student it says it serves,” Hailey Shannon, a creative writing major who is a part of the Compass program said.

Sahzeah Babylon, a career educator at the Center who runs ATLAS, a program that caters to undeclared students, and Compass, which helps transfer students was told about the cancellation of the programs during a discussion with a superior.

The programs are being canceled due to low attendance, Babylon said. Babylon said the administration plans to replace the three customized programs with a single, more generalized program. This is the last semester for the specialized programs, which cater to students with specific challenges that they address through a combination of group instruction and labor-intensive, personalized coaching.

It is standard practice for Chapman’s Office of Career and Professional Development to evaluate all of its programs and services at the end of each semester, and the Compass, ATLAS, Summit and Passport programs are among those being reviewed, Jo Etta Bandy, the executive director of the Career and Professional Development Center said via email.

“In the spirit of continuous improvement, we will always have a focus on evolving our work in order to provide the maximum benefit to our students,” Bandy said via email. “No decisions have been relative to any of our programs at this point in time.”

Babylon also runs a program called Passport which assists international students with career development. The Passport program will not be canceled, according to Babylon but she is unsure about what the program will look like.

Hailey Shannon and Sahzeah Babylon at the last Passport session where Babylon facilitated a conversation about culture shock. Photo courtesy of Hailey Shannon

Adrianna Davies, the student assistant for the Career and Professional Development Center, said she was not aware that the programs were being axed. However, “I know this year there was very low attendance and the career center is trying their best to get the word out that these programs are happening. Every year we have to meet a quota and this year we barely met it.”

The attendance for Compass during Fall 2017 was 9 students who completed the program and in Spring 2018, 11 completed the program.

Passport (currently in its 3rd semester): Fall 2017, 8 completed the program / Spring 2018, 13 completed the program.

ATLAS: Fall 2017, 5 completed the program / Spring 2018, 10 completed the program.

“My programs actually ended with higher attendance in every single program (compared to previous semesters,) Babylon said via email.

“There are normally 50 plus students that complete the Summit program, this time there were close to 70 signed up and 30-ish that finished,” Babylon said via email. “This is the first time the numbers have gone down (in the Summit program) and I’m not sure why they did.”

Hailey Shannon and Sahzeah Babylon at the Summit certificate Ceremony. Photo courtesy of Hailey Shannon

Susan Chang, the assistant director of the Career and Professional Development Center, did not respond to three emails and one voicemail requesting comment.

The Summit program, a professional development series, is run by graduate student Maria Khalil.

Khalil did not respond to three emails requesting to comment.

Chapman students say the customized programs have been crucial in preparing them for careers and fill gaps not addressed by classes.

“Sahzeah met with me over multiple weeks and multiple sessions to ensure that every margin, word, and sentence was perfect for my resume,” said Noah Estrada Rand, a psychology major. “She genuinely cared about my success as a student who barely knew what a proper college resume looked like.”

Babylon’s “vast knowledge in all aspects and steps of finding and pursuing a career is what made her stand out from every other staff and faculty member at Chapman,” he added.

Hailey Shannon credited Babylon with winning her an internship.

“I went through the Compass program and she (Babylon) makes you go to an internship EXPO that happens in the fall; I went to the internship EXPO and I found the internship for the Newport Beach festival,” said Shannon. “The only reason I was prepared for the interview for the Newport Beach festival internship was because of Shahzeah’s program; I have learned more from her about how to walk into a professional setting then I have from any of my other classes.”

Andre Kacie, a junior business administration major recently transferred to Chapman this semester and is a part of the Compass program, which he praised for building a sense of community while building participants’ confidence and skills..

“Sahzeah really puts so much time and personal care into making sure that everyone in the program was getting the one-on-one attention they needed,” Kacie said. “Interviewing and resume building is not the most exciting thing to work on, but she made the program so fun and positive that I enjoyed going every week… I would be so sad to see the program go.”

Erin Guy, a junior public relations, and advertising major, polished her elevator pitch, learned how to conduct an informational interview, perfected her resume and practiced his interview and networking skills in the Compass program.

“I feel much more prepared for my after-college years and felt I have made a lasting bond and essential resource in my relationship with Sahzeah, ” Guy said.

Babylon’s warmth, joyful approach and personalized assistance buoyed her spirits and “made made me feel prepared for the future and sure about my decision to transfer.”

The Summit program was created by Dean Price’s office originally through student affairs but was handed over to the Career and Professional Development Center, according to Babylon . It is a professional development series that lasts seven weeks, Babylon said.

Babylon said the personalized, labor-intensive approach will be replaced with a more generalized one-size-fits-all series of seminars. “I think what is going to happen is they are going to have presentations or seminars throughout the semester and students are required to go to one at the beginning of the semester,” Babylon said. “Then they (the students) have to go to four or five sessions to get a certified certificate at the end of the semester for attending all the programs.”

That may sound like a good idea, but there are some fall backs, she said.

“In small programs, the whole idea is that you form a community, you get to know the person your working with and you build this network of people,” Babylon said. “How is that supposed to happen if you are just going to a random seminar presentation sometime during the semester?”

The programs new replacement program will be run by Susan Chang with her Grad assistant Maria Khalil, according to Babylon.

The ATLAS program targets freshman and sophomores that are undeclared and has been going on for the last four years, Babylon said.

The Compass program which was developed last semester was designed to help transfer students who had problems transitioning. “Transfer students were graduating but they weren’t getting involved, they weren’t networking, all the things that are necessary to Chapman,” Babylon said. “The program was created to get a jump start into all those things.”

How Police Officers Can Tell if You’re Driving High

Photo illustration of a girl smoking marijuana by @ashton via Flickr Commons

With the mainstreaming of marijuana since its legalization in 2016, law enforcement faces a quandary: how will police officers determine if someone is driving high?

Since January 1, 2018, adults ages 21 and over are able to buy marijuana for recreational use from licensed dispensaries – and much of what is for sale is easily consumed orally, leaving no tell-tale “pot smell.” On the same day, a new law went into effect that prevents smoking or ingesting marijuana while driving or being a passenger in a car – so how will police tell that drivers are high?

Since there is no legal threshold to mark marijuana impairment in California, officers are being trained to be drug recognition experts and conduct field sobriety tests, according to The Press Enterprise.

With pot-related DUI’s expected to rise in California, Investigator Weston Hadley of the Santa Ana Police Department Collision Investigation Unit said the assessment of an impaired driver typically begins with a traffic stop.

Hadley said that high drivers usually commit a traffic violation, which leads to officer contact. During the interaction, officers may notice symptoms of impairment, such as the distinct odor of marijuana. Officers will then question the driver, looking for signs of mental impairment or physical symptoms, according to Weston.

“Officers look for two distinct clues, first the reddening of the conjunctiva of the eye and second, they may look for the lack of ability to converge the eyes,” Hadley said.

If the officers detect signs of mental impairment, and objective signs of use, they will continue the investigation and initiate a formal DUI investigation; the officer will have the driver perform a series of balance and coordination tests that are used to detect impairment of the psychomotor skills, according to Hadley.

“The impairment of psychomotor skills provides the officers with visible evidence that the drug is affecting their nervous system,” Hadley said.

Based upon the totality of their observations, the officer will have to determine if they have probable cause to make an arrest, Hadley said.

When asked what technology officers have to detect marijuana intoxication, Hadley said
they have to rely on the quantitative testing of the arrestees blood which is analyzed by the Orange County Crime Lab.

“There are various companies beta-testing devices that provide qualitative drug results,” Hadley said. “They have not gained widespread use and acceptance.”

Photo of a a pipe with weed inside by @Mark via Flickr Commons.

Hadley said he has obtained multiple warrants to compel blood tests.

“My best estimate is 10-20% of arrests I have made require a warrant (since the McNeely Decision),” Hadley said.

While some users such as X claim they “drive better” high, recent studies have revealed drivers with THC in their blood were twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Another study also revealed that those with high levels of THC in their system who were involved in car crashes are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the incident than those who were not driving under the influence, according to National Institute on Drug abuse.

According to Doctor Richard Han, a board certified pediatrician who works at a free standing outpatient center in Phoenix, if someone drives high they may not notice details as well as they normally would.

“Being high, like under the influence of alcohol, or any other drug for that matter, can decrease reaction time, awareness and impair judgement,” Han said. “You may not see objects, notice pedestrians or gauge distances well, or judge speed and ability to change lanes, merge into traffic, etcetera.”

Someone’s degree of impairment also depends on how much they consume, Han said.

“Just like with medications, there will be a dose dependent relationship,” Han said. “For example, if one took just a few puffs, the high might only be enough to impair judgment a little, whereas if one smoked two joints, they might be barely awake.”

Photo illustration of medical marijuana cereal edibles by @Mark via Flickr Commons.

The level of driving impairment also depends on what you smoke, Han said.

“If you smoked something that was not just marijuana but say also laced with PCP (Phencyclidine– a drug used for mind altering effects), that would most certainly affect perception and distort vision, or even induce hallucinations,” Han said.

With the many different forms to smoke and consume cannabis, the only difference between smoking a joint versus eating an edible in terms of marijuana would be amount consumed and timing of effect, Han said.

“Inhaling a joint will cause a faster onset of effect and people tend to stop using it sooner since they feel it,” Han said. “Versus eating something and waiting for the delayed effect, which then sometimes causes people to eat more and more, and then get hit harder. The edible would probably affect a longer drive in terms of distance and timing since it would take longer to kick in and last longer as well.”

Interviews with Chapman students – all of whom insisted on anonymity – revealed that most have driven high at least once in their life or have gotten into a car with someone who was driving high.

A sophomore health science major said she has never driven high but has gotten into the car with someone who was driving under the influence.

“I’ve gotten in the car with someone who was driving high probably ten times, she was a very close friend who liked to smoke weed,” said the anonymous student. “I felt somewhat uncomfortable but we were so close I felt like I had to be comfortable with it since she said she drove high all the time.”

A freshman business major said she has driven high at least five times in her life and smokes daily.

“Sometimes I drive high because if I Uber my parents would question why I Ubered,” said the business major who was also disinclined to pay for a car service when she had her own wheels. She believed herself to be “a better driver when high because I know I have to be more alert while driving so I feel like I’m more aware of my surroundings.”

Yet, she concedes ingesting marijuana messes with her memory.

“One time I drove to In-N-Out (Burger) and I didn’t even remember driving there. The only way I remembered was seeing a video later that day on my phone that my friend took who was in the car with me,” said the anonymous student.

Some students such as freshman English major with an emphasis in creative writing realize the dangers of driving under the influence and has neither driven high or been a passenger in a car while someone was driving high.

“My sister got in a really bad car accident and was hit by a drunk driver,” said the anonymous student. “The doctors said they were surprised she survived, so ever since then I’ve been a little more cautious because I couldn’t imagine getting in the car and doing something like that to someone else.”

A sophomore environmental science major said she has gotten in the car while someone was driving under the influence.

“I have definitely gotten in the car when someone was driving high,” said the anonymous student. “I do this a couple times a year but I try to avoid it. Sometimes my friends and I are still kinda high but we all want to get food so we just decide to get in the car and go,” said the anonymous student.”

The anonymous student said she has driven high twice in her life but will no longer drive under the influence due to the risk of receiving a DUI.

“Many of my friends have gotten DUIs while driving high so I definitely won’t drive high again,” said the anonymous student.

Chapman alumni accused of stealing ideas for the sci fi thriller “Stranger Things”

Matt and Ross Duffer. Photo by Wikipedia

Chapman alumni Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of “Stranger Things,” are being sued for allegedly stealing story ideas from another film.

A filmmaker named Charlie Kesslers filed a lawsuit on Monday against the two brothers claiming that they stole script ideas from his 2012 short film “Montauk” and used his ideas to create “Stranger Things,” according to NBC News.

Kessler is suing the Duffer brothers for breach of implied contract and is seeking monetary damages, but has not specified on the compensation, according to NBC News.

Kessler claims he met the Duffer brothers at a party at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014,  according to NBC News. During this initial meeting, Kessler said he discussed the script and ideas of his 2012 short film titled “Montauk” and the feature film script titled, “The Montauk Project.”

The lawsuit describes instances in which the plot of “Stranger Things,” is very similar to the concepts in “Montauk.” Both films include a sci-fi narrative, both take place in a

town of the same name and both include “the location of various urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories,”  according to NBC News. Both storylines also include the search for a missing boy and the government; “The Montauk Project” focuses on a government run laboratory conducting experiments on kids while the focal point of season one of “Stranger Things” is on government conspiracies. Kessler also claims the Duffer brothers were going to title the show, “The Montauk Project,” but eventually changed the name to “Stranger Things,” according to NBC News.


Stranger Things logo. Photo by Wikimedia Commons


Alex Kohner, the Duffer Brothers’ attorney, stated that the lawsuit is “completely meritless,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Kohner also stated that The Duffer brothers have never seen “Montauk” and Kessler never discussed any information about the film to the Duffer brothers.

“This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work,” Kohner told the Los Angeles Times.

According to TMZ, The Duffer Brothers have emails proving they did not steal the ideas for the show. The emails include the Duffer brothers stating they were going to create a series called Montauk that would take place in Montauk. The emails, dating back to 2010, about three years before the supposed meeting with Kessler, also state that the show would be a “real, paranormal, gritty eighties show.”

Photo of Eleven; one of the main characters in the show. Photo by Leileiha on Flickr

A Google document from October 4, 2013 describes the plot of the show and defends the “missing boy” aspect of the show. The Google document says, “Benny (renamed Will for the show) leaves his friend Elliot’s house, a bunch of kids are there, eating pizza, dungeons and dragons … Benny leaves on bike, hears voices, goes into strange world, taken by some evil force,” according to TMZ.

Two other emails from February 2014 stated that the show would be set in Long Island and “mentions a location scout in Montauk,” according to TMZ. The Google document and emails are both dated before the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival party.

Netflix declined to comment on the lawsuit, according to NBC News.

The Duffer brothers, who were both Dodge students, graduated from Chapman in 2007 and later created the show “Stranger Things.” The show  won five Emmy Awards at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, according to the Chapman website.


Video Games: A curse or a blessing?


Courtesy of David Gagnon

Video games have often been portrayed as a mind numbing activity that distracts from academics and intellectual stimulation. But David Gagnon, the director of Field Day, an education research laboratory at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin, believes they are a powerful and under used educational tool with tremendous potential.

While some experts have long condemned technology creep, the “gamification” of education, and an excessive reliance on digital instruction that fails to promote critical thinking and undercuts social skills, Gagnon thinks video games have been given short shrift. According to Gagnon, video games can facilitate learning. And they prove especially useful in giving students immediate feedback on their performance, he contends.

In a speech to faculty and students on Feb. 7, Gagnon spoke to Chapman students and faculty about the use of educational video games to understand how learning occurs.

“Video games generate sandbox learning–in which new systems are explored, you engage with the tools that are given to you. . .  Failure can happen but you can wipe it away and start over,” Gagnon said.

Educational video games produce “situated learning,” providing activity practice, context, and feedback, he continued. One type of “situated learning” video game includes flight simulators, which are used to train pilots.

“Physically, the learner is manipulating the controls of the plane, being aware of their surroundings, communicating with the (other) pilot, etc,” said Gagnon. “The context is an exact protocol of actual practitioners of flight. The feedback is turning the stick and watching the horizon change, all the way to whether or not your landing was successful.”

Educational video games, such as the flight simulator, create feedback systems that are formative, immediate, and create an exact replica of what students will be doing in the field they are working in, Gagnon said – something traditional instruction cannot do.

“Let’s say you spend a year working on a paper about feminism in the United States. The feedback you get is an 83 written on your paper–It’s completely useless as a feedback system,” said Gagnon.

Some professors are integrating video games into project based learning, he noted.  

“One time in a history class, instead of making the students write an essay, we had kids develop board games and reality video games about the Boston Tea Party. This made the students think about the characters and the conflict, because building games versus writing papers force people to think in terms of systems and consequences,” said Gagnon.


Photo by Joel Stubston

While Gagnon promotes the use of video games, some studies show detrimental repercussions to too much tech in teaching.

According to an article published in a 2014 issue of HuffPost titled, “Too Much Technology Is Bad for the Brain,” author Steve Nelson, a columnist for the Valley News, references a study conducted by Karin H. James, The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children. The study discusses the beneficial aspects of handwriting versus using technology. In response to this study, Nelson challenges how useful technology can be for academics since it doesn’t provide contact with real materials of the world that you can feel, touch, etc.

Unlike Gagnon’s view on incorporating video games to learn about history or other subjects, Nelson believes interacting with the real word allows information to be stored for a longer period of time.

“Acting out the powerful elements of a period in history is exponentially more interesting and durable than navigating a software program to prepare for a test.” Nelson argued in “Too Much Technology is bad for the Brain.”

Another study made by International Classification of Diseases, claims playing video games might be harmful to your academic performance, relationships, and health.

Sophomore Julian Berdouare said playing video games distracted him from his classes and made his grades drop.

“Last semester I ended up with a B plus in an intro to acting class because there were homeworks that I missed since I would be playing video games instead of doing my homework or studying,” said Berdouare, who is undeclared.

Although video games made Berdouare’s grades drop a bit, he thinks video games might have potential to help learning – but the premise needs more testing.

“Video games could be offered in an experimental course to gather data on learning efficacy and be compared to a regular class of the same topic,” said Berdouare.

Alex Davis, a sophomore computer science and software engineering major said playing video games became an addiction. As his number one priority in middle school, video games definitely hindered more than helped his education.

In “Too Much Technology Is Bad for the Brain,” Nelson argued that “Every hour spent in the digital world, at school or at home, is an hour not spent doing something more valuable.”

“In middle school I would come home from school, lock myself in my room, play video games, go to sleep and then do the same thing the next day. I started failing all of my classes because I never did my homework since I was playing video games,” Davis said.

However, David Gagnon believes it’s not our phones and games that are taking us away from our communities and neighbors, but it’s our culture.

“Instead of blaming technology, I embrace it as a tool and attempt to create games and apps that increase our interest with the world,” said Gagnon.

But Davis also said his addiction caused a strain on his relationship with his parents: “When I would play video games, I sometimes isolated myself from my parents. My addiction got so bad to the point where my parents sent me to military school.”

Davis’s continued to play video games in military school after learning how to manage his time between school work and leisure, and also thinks video games would be a useful educational tool.

“I think using video games would be a great way to learn because they would hold people’s attention more than reading a textbook,” said Davis.

Marketplace goes unnoticed by Chapman students  

A new website designed to help Chapman students buy and sell merchandise is apparently having a hard time gaining traction.

Ulyngo, an online e-commerce site promised an easier and safer way for students to buy and sell textbooks, furniture, clothes and other items they craved or wished to jettison, appears to be having a tough time luring users away from established sites such as Amazon and the Chapman “Free & For Sale” Facebook group.   

According to Alex Jekowsky, a Chapman student who left his sophomore year to run Ulyngo, the site launched sometime in December.  But an Oct. 23 story in The Panther said the site was going live that week–and a post advertising two tickets to see Montell Jordan on the site is dated Oct. 23. A peek at the Chapman Ulyngo site on February 7, 2018, revealed a total of only 13 posts by seven people selling a bike, a portable air conditioner, and tickets to Montell Jordan, among other items – with no visible responses.

The seven people who had posted items did not respond to email inquiries made by Prowl except for one student.

Sophomore Rylea Gillis, a health science major, said she posted on Ulyngo a few months ago to sell a pair of Beats headphones.

It said the post had been viewed 20 times, but nobody ever commented or tried to buy them. I ended up selling them on Facebook instead because it doesn’t seem like students are too responsive to the Ulyngo platform, probably because many just don’t know about it,” said Gillis.

Jekowsky said Ulyngo, which is funded by investors,  is also in place at California State University Northridge but declined to comment on other schools that may use the service.

Jekowsky said his site shares a portion of the 5 percent commission fee it takes from the price of an item with the universities using the service. He claims schools have created scholarship funds, and increased student government operating budgets with the money made from his e-commerce site.

Ulyngo was promoted by student government president Mitchell Rosenberg as a better, more exclusive, non-anonymous way for students to sell and buy merchandise. The site promises to arbitrate disputes and hold money in abeyance until both parties verified their satisfaction.

“I think that the biggest differentiation from Ulyngo and other sites is that it is a site just for  Chapman students. On Ulyngo, there’s no fraud going on or outside individuals trying to sell to students, so it has that extra layer of safety,” said Rosenberg.

Interviews with students indicated that many saw little need for it.

Sophomore environmental science major Julia Boronski said she’s never used or heard of Ulyngo. She prefers the efficiency and immediacy of Amazon.

“Nothing I have ordered from Amazon comes broken or different than shown in the pictures. I love Amazon because I can find everything I need and a lot of the products have free two-day shipping which is really convenient,” said Boronski.

Boronski said she most likely will not use Ulyngo since there are plenty of other similar sites.

“I wouldn’t use the site because I already have accounts for Amazon, Facebook, and eBay which gives me all the opportunities I need to buy and sell what I want, ” said Boronski.

Freshman Davis Anderson, a strategic and corporate communication major also hasn’t heard of Ulyngo. She uses Chegg to help shop for books.

“I feel like Chegg is convenient because the books are a lot cheaper and you can rent them so I don’t get stuck with a book I’ll never use again,” said Anderson.

Anderson said she wouldn’t buy items from Ulyngo but might conceivably post things for sale on it.

Sophomore Michelle Vera, a creative writing major, has never heard of Ulyngo but is interested in using the site.

“I would totally use it! Even though we have the Chapman University class of 2020 Facebook page Chapman University Class of 2020 Public Group | Facebook where people sell things, it would be nice to sell things to all Chapman students because our Facebook page only has students in our grade,” said Vera.

Jekowsky said he had established a need for the site at Chapman. He speculated that about 1000 students have accessed the site, and expressed hope more will join after an upcoming Chapman marketing campaign. “In about two weeks Chapman will be doing a lot of campaigns for Ulyngo; There will be postcards in the cafeteria, in basket holders, and they’ll have emails going out to students about the marketplace,” Jekowsky said.

Student Government President Mitchell Rosenberg – who has not used the site himself – also believes the site will gain popularity following a Chapman marketing campaign.

But Assistant Vice President of Panther services and Operations in Strategic Marketing and Communications, Char Williams said in an emailed response, “We have NO knowledge of this being used at all on campus.”   

“Anything that’s new takes time to start up and be a part of the students daily culture. The startup of the Chapman student marketplace has definitely been slow but I know that the University has plans to start promoting it to students so they know there is a safer place to buy and sell things,” Rosenberg said.

Courtesy of Alex Jekowsky

Dr. Deborah Ferber, a professor at the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics said rewards and university affiliation would draw more students to the site.

“Chapman students would be more open to using Ulyngo if the University could draw students to the same type of benefits crowdfunding does. An example would be creating a reward system using Ulyngo where you and your friends can see your earning points. Another example would be reminding students that the activity on their account creates a revenue share to help the university,” said Dr. Ferber.

But Merzia Cutlerywala, a sophomore business major, said that even a rewards system would be unlikely to lure her from her current shopping preferences.

“I wouldn’t use the site because I have Amazon Prime for students, which offers a lot of rental textbooks that are cheap,” said Cutlerywala.