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OU community reacts to COVID-19 vaccine mandate retraction
AUTUMN OKUSZKA Features Reporter
Three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland University has decided to lift the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all staff and students, effective May 1, 2023.
“The Executive Policy Group (EPG) has decided to implement this change following a careful review of pandemic conditions across the region by the Infection Prevention and Control Committee (IPCC),” the statement released on March 10 said. “This work has revealed strong COVID-19 vaccination rates, as well as a declining number of infections, severe illnesses and deaths as a result of the pandemic.”
Senior Jaden Sauvola, who suffers from the long-term effects of COVID-19, believes the lifting of the vaccine mandate is not a wise decision.
“A lot of people think that the pandemic is something in the past,” Sauvola said. “People like me serve as examples that it continues, and there are long-term effects for it.”
Though he graduates in April,
Sauvola feels sympathy for other students who may feel vulnerable without a vaccine mandate in place.
“I feel for the students that will come after me,” Sauvola said. “I would like them to feel safe in their space. I think that there is no reason to not continue to take precautions.”
Conversely, junior Jaimee Moshenko believes lifting the vaccine mandate could be beneficial. She relates the mandate’s lifting to recent discussions about abortion, stating “people should have a choice.”
“I’m pro-choice,” Moshenko said. “Personally, I’m vaccinated, I’m boosted. I work in a hospital. I was never scared of getting a vaccine because I believe in science. However, I think it’s a good thing that they’re taking the mandate away, because people should have a choice.”
Ann Rayford, director of the Graham Health Center (GHC), says the GHC plans on continually encouraging all individuals of the OU community to be up to date on their vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think as we evolve through the pandemic — because we’re not totally out of it — we’ve learned so much that we all have decisions to make for ourselves of how we can best protect
ourselves,” Rayford said.
While Rayford has witnessed the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the OU community, she also appreciates the other mitigation strategies the university has implemented.
“Following the science of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the CDC, to my knowledge, we have not had anyone, no active members of the campus community, die from COVID-19.”
Rayford also wants all staff and students to keep in mind that
the COVID-19 public health emergency will be ending on May 11. She recommends obtaining free at-home COVID-19 tests while they’re still available.
“I would encourage people to have [at-home COVID-19 tests],” Rayford said. “The only way you know if you have [COVID-19] is if you take a test, whether that’s a home test or whether you go someplace to be tested.”
As a health care provider, Rayford always encourages people to be up to date on any vaccines they are eligible to receive. She believes it’s important for everyone to learn what to do to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
“Whether it’s our friends or family or people that we just pass every day and we’re sick, we should do the things we’ve learned about — to wash your hands, wear a mask and get a test,” Rayford said. “We want everyone to be successful. [The GHC is] here to help support that.”
The GHC will continue to administer COVID-19 vaccinations following the lifting of the vaccine mandate. If staff and students are interested, they can schedule an appointment through the online patient portal.
Michigan Senate approves gun safety package, students reactTORI COKER Content Editor
In the wake of Michigan’s first mass shooting of 2023 some 64 miles away on Michigan State University’s campus, the gun safety package recently proposed by state lawmakers and approved by the Michigan Senate on March 16 hits close to home for Oakland University students.
The package — which will now head to the Michigan House of Representatives for further debate — includes three proposed laws:
1. Stricter background checks and mandatory licenses for gun purchases or inheritances
2. An extreme risk protection order or “red flag law” to allow requests for the removal of guns from people acquaintances perceive as a threat to themselves or others
3. A safe storage law mandating gun owners keep firearms unloaded or locked away if they know a minor is present
“I think stricter background checks, red flag laws and safe storage laws all have the potential to be effective,” OU Student Body President Andrew Romano said. “[...] I am excited that the Michigan Legislature is doing something about this — I think the majority of Michiganders can agree something should be done.”
Results from a recent survey by WDIV Channel 4 News and the Detroit News confirm Romano’s hunch. The poll found 87.8% of Michigan voters support background checks, 74.5% support the passage of red flag laws and 79.8% are in favor of safe storage laws.
Senior biomedical science major Victoria Horn feels optimistic the package could reduce shootings and
alleviate the mounting discomfort she has felt as a student in the wake of the MSU tragedy.
“I do think that everyone should have to have a license to own a gun, just like you need a license to drive a car,” Horn said of which measures she approves most. “The red flag law is especially interesting to me, because this will allow outside people to prevent those who are not fit from owning a gun. This has potential to reduce shootings by a lot.”
Sophomore elementary education major Jasity Renner feels less confident in the red flag law.
“While the concept behind this decision was smart, this doesn’t get to the issue’s core,” Renner said. “Whenever we see another school shooting on the news, we often hear, ‘they aren’t the type of person who could have done this type of thing,’ or ‘they seemed fine to me.” Unfortunately, knowing what someone is thinking or planning is impossible.”
The WDIV/Detroit News survey found 85.5% of gun owners to support background checks. For senior public relations major Hannah Chretien, whose family has owned firearms her entire life, the package sounds generally favorable — so long as those who do comply with the “proper steps” to carry do, in fact, get to do so.
“If you carry a firearm that is applicable to be able to carry on your hip, you should have the right to do that with the right safety training, background check, license and the proper size firearm,” Chretien said. “The issue isn’t the firearms themselves; rather, it’s that the wrong individuals are obtaining these weapons.
“As new laws are passed, criminals have greater justification to find a different, illegal or unethical means to obtain them,” Chretien said. “The weapons package that was put in place, in my opinion, is crucial — but criminals are the real issue.”
A common sentiment across all five OU students surveyed for this article was frustration toward the infamous relevancy the gun safety debate has in the educational realm. Many students also expressed resentment at the lack of progress made so far with combating gun violence within and beyond schools.
“The issue with mass shootings and the lack of gun restrictions predates me,” senior film production major Rebecca Feliciano said. “Since I stepped foot on a university campus, in the back of my mind, I plan my strategy. With every new semester and in every new classroom, I have to determine if this is a place to hide or fight.
“As a student, I should not have to focus on or recommend gun laws and stray from my studies because of constant threats — this is why I vote during every election,” Feliciano said.
“It has been 23 years since our first major school shooting,” Feliciano said. “MSU should not have been the cause for change — Columbine should
have been the cause for legislation to implement restrictions like these.”
Several students proposed alternative solutions to address gun violence.
“The reality is, the laws won’t do much to retroactively address all the sales that have happened before enactment,” Romano said. “The state is sitting on a huge budget surplus. Where is the money for universities to establish basic safety and security measures? Where is the money towards mental health services on campuses?
“Right now at OU, students only get four free counseling sessions for the entirety of their time as a student,” Romano said. “It’s great we are having these talks about legislation, but the legislature has waited so long, it is going to take more than a few laws to make communities whole again.”
Renner echoed Romano’s sentiment, advocating for increased accessibility and decreased stigma surrounding mental health resources.
“It is not enough to focus on gun control measures,” Renner said. “[...] We need to address the root cause of violence and prioritize mental health support for those in need.”
With a career in teaching ahead of her, Renner feels a particularly strong connection to the gun control debate.
“As a college student and education major, I not only have to worry about my safety, but I will eventually have to worry about the safety of the children in my classroom,” Renner said. “As an adult, I have been able to educate myself to the best of my abilities, and I will continue to be worried about the effectiveness of these gun control laws.”PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MARVIN
Pre-Street Medicine Oakland: Student organization highlightPAYTON BUCKI Campus Reporter
Pre-Street Medicine Oakland (PSMO) was founded on a pair of socks.
Kylie DeVlaminck, an Oakland University senior majoring in laboratory sciences, realized while working her nursing assistant job that gently used patient socks could have longevity beyond a shortterm hospital stay.
DeVlaminck worked closely with the OU William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) to collect and distribute these socks to local underserved communities in need. Through the simple act of reducing sock waste, the idea for PSMO was conceived.
“While working with OUWB’s Street Medicine program to donate hospital socks, a medical student suggested that this type of work may be a good foundation for an undergraduate organization,” DeVlaminck said.
DeVlaminck worked with fellow undergraduate students Alexis Schuhrke, Nedi Affas and Abigail Wagener — the new organization’s vice president, treasurer and secretary, respectively — to conceptualize and plan the organization.
“I am thrilled to be one of the founders of PSMO — it is one of my greatest accomplishments during my time at OU,” Affas said. “PSMO means a lot to me as I am a refugee myself, and I know what it’s like to be part of the underserved minority community, so this is a great opportunity for OU students to unite and have a direct positive impact
on the surrounding underserved communities.”
The group planned the organization to resemble an undergraduate version of OUWB’s Street Medicine program, borrowing from aspects of MSU’s Spartan Street Medicine program.
“MSU’s program is well-established and provided a good guide for our new organization,” DeVlaminck said. “One of their initiatives, which we hope to model, is fundraising to assist impoverished individuals in obtaining birth certificate replacements.”
The main goals of Pre-Street Medicine OU include providing service to underserved areas in Pontiac and surrounding neighborhoods, distributing supplies and educating community members about general health and wellness.
While undergraduate student members will not be able to provide direct healthcare, the club will have a vital “behind the scenes” role at regular OUWB Street Medicine clinics. Students will assist with supply distribution and clerical tasks while gaining experience at the grassroots of healthcare.
Additionally, PSMO members will participate in assembling medical supply kits which may include an array of items, from vitamins to personal hygiene items. These kits will be given to individuals in need as a tangible gesture of support and personal engagement.
“Our hope is that PSMO can demonstrate a sustainable community impact and cultivate trust amongst healthcare professionals and persons living in poverty,” DeVlaminck said. “Clinics are short-term, so we see this organization as a way to provide long-term support.”
Keeper of the Dream: Tamia Smith
Senior Tamia Smith remembers being independent at a young age. While other children had to be told what to do, Smith did things without having to be asked.
Looking toward her mother as her inspiration, Smith’s go-getter attitude motivated her to become a Keeper of the Dream Award (KOD) recipient in 2023.
“I definitely think that watching my mom take care of me created this independent lifestyle in terms of being able to work for the things that I need in life,” Smith said.
Smith works as a resident assistant and is involved in Project Big Sister (PBS) and the Association of Black Students (ABS) at OU. ABS particularly struck a chord with Smith, as it allows her to connect with other Black students on campus.
“[ABS is] involved in doing community engagement events,” she said. “[ABS] strengthens our skills when it comes to academics [and] when it comes to finances.”
ABS has also worked toward making OU’s campus safer for minority students. Smith recalls a moment last semester when ABS lifted her voice after she uncovered a safety hazard within OU’s housing.
“Somebody targeted my car — my mom had me go to the police station to make a report about it,” Smith said. “He said that he would check the
cameras, [and] calls me back 15 minutes later telling me that the cameras actually weren’t operating on the side of the building I was on.”
Discovering she would be a KOD recipient was a surreal moment for Smith. Though she has been a highly motivated individual throughout her life, it was hard for Smith to recognize that she made a difference in the OU community.
“I’m so used to just doing things, and I don’t need someone to pat me on the back or recognize me
As the blossoming organization finds its footing, its leadership team plans to host small-scale social and service events as the semester comes to a close.
“PSMO is open to undergraduate students of all majors and interests,” DeVlaminck said. “We plan to engage student members by completing softlaunch efforts and planning summer events.”
To learn more about Pre-Street Medicine Oakland, visit their GrizzOrgs page or contact President DeVlaminck at firstname.lastname@example.org. For club updates, follow their Instagram page @ prestreetmedicineoakland.
for doing something — I just do it regardless, just because that’s the kind of person I am,” she said. ”To be recognized for the things that I’m doing is just a whole other ball game.”
Through becoming a KOD recipient, Smith feels that she now has more opportunities to help her community.
“I want to spread information that is vital, especially to young voices,” Smith said. “We are the ones that are going to evolve in this world and create the path for — if we are fortunate to have children — for them to follow in our footsteps and do the same thing.”
After completing her health sciences degree, Smith plans on pursuing an accelerated second degree in nursing. Upon witnessing her family encounter problems within the healthcare system, Smith is determined to diversify it.
“There’s not enough people that look like me in healthcare,” she said. “I definitely want to bring awareness to how important it is to have a diverse group of people within every single department.”
Though Smith has thrived on being independent throughout her life, she recognized through meeting the other KOD recipients that there are people at OU who can help her carry the heavy load of enacting important change.
“It was really cool to see that we’re all doing different things aimed at one common goal,” Smith said.
This article is part of a series of articles about the 2023 Keeper of the Dream Award recipients.
OUWB celebrates 2023 Match Day CAMPUS
GABRIELLE ABDELMESSIH Editor-In-Chief
Every year, on the third Friday of March when the clock strikes noon, thousands of fourth-year medical students across the U.S. open envelopes in unison that contain their entire professional future—where they will train as physicians during their residency for the next several years.
Also known as Match Day, it is considered by many physicians to be one of the most stressful and exciting days of their career. Their fate lies in a single envelope. It is a moment they will never forget.
After graduating from medical school and obtaining a medical degree, physicians are not licensed and thus not permitted to practice independently until they complete a residency program, typically lasting between three and seven years.
In the U.S., residency training was introduced in the early 1900s, but quickly became disorganized and competitive by the 1940s.
To provide structure to the process of placing medical students into residency programs, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), also known as The Match, was designed and enacted in 1952 to provide structure to the process of placing medical students into residency programs.
Medical students, using the experiences acquired during clinical rotations in the third year of their education, begin the application process in the fall of their fourth year. Between October and February, programs review the applications they received and invite select applicants for interviews and institution tours.
After the application process is finalized, both applicants and residency program directors create a ranked list in order of preference for either programs or students, respectively. These lists are then submitted to NRMP, which then combines the ranked lists and uses a mathematical algorithm to place applicants into residency programs
On the third Monday of March, students receive notification from the NRMP if they have matched into a residency program, but have to wait until Friday to learn where.
If an applicant finds out that they haven’t been accepted into a residency program, they are eligible to participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), a matching process that takes place between Monday and Thursday of Match Week. This provides an opportunity for those
that did not match to apply to residency programs with unfilled positions.
It is considered to be a streamlined process. In fact, researchers Lloyd Shapley and Alvin Roth were even awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2012 for developing the mathematical algorithm the NRMP uses.
At the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), students gathered on campus to open their envelopes together and commemorate the occasion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first in-person celebration in three years.
Addressing the medical students, guests, and campus community, Dr. Ben Shwartz, president of Corewell Health East, compared matching into a residency program to a marriage.
“When you open the envelope and learn where you’re going to train, that place wants you badly,” he said. “It’s almost like a marriage. They’re committing to you in a partnership, and the reason they’re willing to make that commitment to you is because of your expertise in training.”
Dr. Duane Mezwa, OUWB dean, also spoke at the event.
“I commend all of you for the hard work, dedication, and determination that brought you to today,” he said. “Think about how far you have come — and be proud,” he said. “Pat yourself on the back for following your dreams. You’re entering the most exciting time of your lives.”
A total of 110 medical students from OUWB’s class of 2023 matched in residency programs across 26 different states, with 45% of students matching in Michigan. Some medical students (20%) will be continuing their training in Corewell Health residency programs in 12 specialties. Forty-two percent of OUWB medical students matched in primary care residencies. The top 5 specialties that OUWB students matched in include internal medicine (15%), anesthesiology (8%), emergency medicine (8%), psychiatry (8%), and family medicine (5%).
Outside of Michigan, students also matched at locations that include Brown University, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, University of California-Irvine, University of California-Los Angeles, and University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan School of Medicine.
While nearly 45% of students will stay in Michigan, California, Ohio, New York, Florida and Illinois were also top states where students matched into programs.
Twelve match day students are also OU undergraduate alumni.
OUWB’s 2023 Match Day percentage was 100%, meaning every medical student in the class of 2023 has a placement for residency. The national average is 93%.
All of the emotions were on full display as students began to open their envelopes for the big reveal. Students cried, cheered each other on and embraced those that have supported them along the way.
Tarek Almsaddi, an OU alumni who matched into interventional radiology, was reflective on his time at the university.
“It’s a full circle experience. I came here for both undergrad and medical school, and now I’m continuing through the affiliation of being at Beaumont-Dearborn,” Almsaddi says. “It’s been the biggest blessing having the same people in my corner, and I’m super appreciative of all of it.”
Kaitlin Pataroque, an M4 who matched in internal medicine, called this moment “special.”
“This moment is really special and is the culmination of all our hard work,” Pataroque says. “ I’m face timing my family to let them know where I’m at, so I’m excited for the next three years. All of my regions are in different regions of the U.S., so it was exciting to finally figure out where I’m going to be for the next three years of my life.”
She was also reflective on how the COVD-19 pandemic shaped her medical school experience.
“I think it makes it even more sweet that we have this event in person. The pandemic happened in the middle of our first year, so our class was really lucky that we got to build a community during our first year of medical school so that we were still able to support each other. It’s nice to end our time here on campus,” she said.
Club sports teams representing OU on national stageJOE ZERILLI Campus Editor
March marks a successful time to be on a club sports team, as the equestrian and Division III hockey teams embark on journeys for national tournaments.
Equestrian is sending three riders to the national qualifier in Ohio, while D3 hockey was in Boston playing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Men’s D3 National Tournament. Sports and recreation program coordinator Kyle Reece discussed the success of the teams.
“These two clubs — that require a ton of time, effort, money and commitment, on top of it all being full time students — getting to the level of achievement that they have is something I could not be more proud of,” Reece said.
“These two clubs have a lot of expenses and most of it is self-funded, so the fact that these two groups of athletes have achieved as much on ice and in the barn is something we as Rec Well could not be more proud of and getting to see them represent Oakland on a national level is going to be a great experience for them,” he said.
The team headed to Boston on March 14 as they prepared for the three-day pool play for a chance at the final four. The tournament featured the top 16 teams in the division. To President Richie Metz, it showed the strength of the program at OU.
“It is a good feeling knowing that day in and day out we have to be competing at the highest level of play to make ourselves known as one of the best teams in the league,” Metz said.
The team is no stranger to the tournament — out
of the last nine active seasons, they made it to the tournament eight times, and won it all the 2016-17 season. After having a down year last year, being ranked No. 67, they turned it around and finished at No. 15 with a 14-17-0 record.
Metz emphasized their strong and fast-paced game, as well as overall hard work, as a key part of their success. He also highlighted key players who have had personal standout seasons.
“On the back end holding down the net, our goalies Tate Potteiger, Domenico Munaco, Caleb Godlewski have been very successful at keeping the games low scoring,” Metz said. “On the offense side, we have a lot of scoring coming with points from Jack Abbo, Shane Arbour, Evan Chippa, Matthew Phaneuf and many other players.
OU lost the first game to No. 3 Michigan, 1-4, with forward Abbo picking up the lone goal in the second period. They followed up the next day with a better offensive outing, with three goals from Josh Konczak, Chippa and Logan Rey, but ultimately fell to No. 6 Arkansas 3-5.
OU ended the pool play strong against No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast University with a 4-3 win in overtime. Abbo scored his second of pool play, with Dominic Ruiz and Brendan Danou scoring as well. Sam Palmeter scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
Three riders will head to zones, which are qualifiers for the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championship, on April 1. The riders — President Lauren LaClair, Laura Senish and Sarah Hohensee — will compete for a chance to make the championship May 4-7 in Lexington.
LaClair will also compete for the Cacchione Cup,
where the rider who has the most points from each region — OU is in zone 6, region 4 — competes to represent their region.
“I am super excited to represent Oakland at zones. I’m super excited to be the Cacchione rider for our region,” LaClair said. “Oakland’s never had a Cacchione rider before, so it’s gonna be a new experience for me and my team and my coach.”
The team has had riders make zones before, but this is the biggest year, as three out of a regular eight riders who compete made zones.
“I think it was a very rewarding year for the team, especially being president,” LaClair said. “We did super well, and all of our riders really did super well in their classes.”
The success comes from a team which is smaller than its competitors, where, being a club, the team faces off against varsity teams like Western Michigan — though Oakland was second behind them by only one point.
The first place team for the region qualifies for zones as a team. While it was bittersweet to be so close to qualifying, the support and determination was still there.
“The people that do compete are very dedicated to pay for lessons, to pay for traveling, coaches fees and hotel,” LaClair said. “A lot of the varsity teams will have actual facilities on campus, and a lot of them are equine colleges.
“We’re just as good — I wouldn’t say better, we’re not better than other teams, but we’re more technical,” LaClair said. “We want it more.”
As she approaches graduation after having been on the team for four years, LaClair said it is great to see riders develop, and that the team is like a family.
OUSC election: Meet the candidates
Election season is underway at Oakland University as many hopeful students have begun their respective campaigns for positions in the OU Student Congress. Read on to learn more about the candidates running for executive board and legislative seats.
Presidential/vice presidential slates
There are three presidential/vice presidential slates running in the 2023 OUSC election.
The first slate of candidates consists of presidential candidate Josef Gocjaj, vice presidential candidate Amir Mitchell, speaker candidate Ethan Lehman-Pace and legislator candidate Jimena Garcia.
The Gojcaj-Mitchell Slate is running on the campaign slogan “Stronger Together,” a succinct description of their main priority; uplifting the student body by improving their college experience. The candidates intend to support student organizations by listening to student feedback and acting upon concerns.
“When we communicate with organizations, we are consistently hearing complaints about the Student Activities Funding Board’s confusing or potentially misapplied rules and regulations,” Gojcaj said in his presidential platform statement. “To mitigate problems and barriers for student organizations, we are committed to reforming the SAFB by-laws to further ensure transparency, clarity and funding for student clubs and events.”
Learn more about the Gojcaj Mitchell Slate by following their campaign Instagram @stronger.together.oakland.
The second slate of candidates consists of presidential candidate Murryum Farooqi, vice presidential candidate Maris Ferguson and speaker candidate Emma Garrett.
The Farooqi-Ferguson Slate is running on the campaign slogan “Let’s Keep Moving Forward.” The all-female group is running on numerous initiatives, promising to protect students’ wallets, rights, voices and especially the health and safety of all Golden Grizzlies.
“With extensive experience comes extensive knowledge,” the Farooqi
Ferguson platform statement reads. “We know what works, what’s realistic and what will keep us moving forward.”
Stay up-to-date with the Farooqi-Ferguson Slate by following their campaign Instagram @farooqiferguson.
The third presidential slate includes Joshua Kobus and Calla Bazinski. The Kobus-Bazinski Slate is running its campaign on sustainability, financial support and ethics.
One of Kobus’s major initiatives is championing a clear separation between SAFB and OUSC to eliminate conflict of interest concerns in regard to student organization financial requests.
“I would like to separate the funding board (SAFB) from the OUSC to ensure that no student organizations have financial favor at the expense of others,” Kobus said. “All student organizations deserve perfectly fair funding.”
To learn more about each candidate’s goals and initiatives, read the presidential/vice presidential election platforms by clicking this link.
There are sixteen candidates running in the 2023 OUSC election. These candidates include Alex Verzillo, Matthew Staley, Darnell Sumpter Jr., Tyler Wykhuis, J. Cooper Smith, Lucas Sinistaj, Mohammed Salman, Ryan Olds, Victoria Ouding, Travis Palmer, Lance Markowitz, Daniela Meson De La Fuente, Nick Mumby, Jason Jimenez, Meron Eeso and Zohab Ali.
To learn more about each candidate’s goals and initiatives, read the legislator election platforms by clicking this link. Votes will be cast for all positions from April 3-5.
For more information on OUSC elections, please contact Elections Commission Chair Chiara Nava via email at chiaranava@oakland. edu. For timely updates on all election matters, follow OUSC on their Instagram @ouscofficial.STORY BY PAYTON BUCKI | DESIGN BY MEGAN PARKER
Gojcaj Mitchell Slate
“We know what works, what’s realistic and what will keep us moving forward.”Emma Garrett - Speaker Candidate Maris Ferguson - VP Murryum Farooqi - President Ethan Lehman-Pace - Speaker Candidate Amir Mitchell - VP Josef Gojcaj - President Jimena Garcia - Legislator
CRISPR-Cas9 – Genetic Scissors at Work
ISABELLA LIMBERT SciTech Reporter
In 2020, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuel Charpentier for their development and understanding of the gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9. Charpentier has been quoted for saying that this system is “mind-blowing.”
Protection at the molecular level
The CRISPR-Cas9 complex, while new to our own understanding, is not new to archaea or bacteria. The system we know has been present in these organisms for centuries, allowing them to create their own network of molecular defense. Utilizing this bacterial line of defense, the possibilities are endless for humans.
How exactly does CRISPR-Cas9 work? In simple terms, CRISPR-Cas9 can be thought of as a pair of genetic scissors. CRISPR is a series of short palindromic repeats, while Cas9 is the endonuclease that is guided by designed RNA specific to the experiment. CRISPR and Cas9 must
work together as a system to allow for the process of gene editing. By making a specific cut at either a targeted gene or region of DNA, this system then allows natural DNA processes to take over and repair the region, excising the area of issue and replacing it with either the correct sequence of DNA or another gene.
Here is the step-by-step process:
• Recognition – Guide RNA must be designed to target the region of interest, guiding the Cas9 “scissors” to the target
• Cleavage – Cas9 makes double stranded breaks (as DNA is a double-stranded molecule) to excise the region of interest
• Repair – Homology-directed repair and other host-cell machinery repair the excised region, either inserting another gene as directed by Cas9 or inputting the correct version of the sequence once there
Yes, this is a complicated process with plenty of scientific jargon that can make it confusing to those not familiar with the technique. All in all, CRISPR-Cas9 can remove “bad”
DNA and allow it to repair itself, opening up a world of possibilities for gene-editing in the future.
Designer babies: seriously?
The movie GATTACA may not be that far out of reach…
Scientists hypothesize that with the power of CRISPR, certain diseases and disorders could be eradicated from a child before they’re even born. Some issues with this, of course, lie with the potential implications and damage that this gene-editing could cause. Is it worth the risk? While parents may dream of getting to choose whether their child has blue eyes or red hair, this tool should be used for more pressing issues such as Tay-Sachs or phenylketonuria.
Most notably, scientist He Jiankui was under much scrutiny when he announced to the world that twin girls with edited genomes were to be born. Not only did this go against many within the scientific community, but he also risked human life and safety laws to practice this technique. Human research is hard enough to get clearance for, as clinical trials must go through countless rounds of approval
in order to use human subjects as opposed other comparative species such as rats or monkeys. While scientists are unable to see the future impacts that this research will have on the gene-edited children, they are consciously aware of the changes that this could send spiraling in the scientific community.
(Continued on our website)
Cortina Pena, Darcel Green advocate for diversity in health care
Results from a George Washington University study found a severe lack of diversity in the health care workforce, which could worsen health disparities that already exist for minorities.
“Our findings suggest that Blacks, Latinos and other people of color have been left behind when it comes to the health professions,” lead study author and Senior Research Scientist Edward Salsberg said.
Cortina Pena and Darcel Green are striving to be part of the resolution to this ongoing problem.
Pena and Green are students of OU’s Nursing Program and serve as president and vice president of OU’s Black Student Nurses Association (BSNAOU). They aim to be two powerful voices for change, and hope their efforts will help redefine how diversity looks in healthcare.
“Diversity and inclusion is just equality across the board,” Green said. “Nobody is being treated differently because of the color of [their] skin and just being fair just across the
board. Diversity is everyone coming together, knowing that they have the same goal in mind.”
Pena and Green also want to become patient advocates. Pena explains the lack of diversity in the field directly correlates to some of the issues that minorities experience when they receive medical care.
“It’s evidenced now by research that African American women or women of color have higher mortality rates during child labor and in post complications. Why is that?” Pena said. “We’re going to the same hospital, we’re seeing the same doctors, yet voices are not heard. So that’s the change I would like to see. That’s another reason I went into becoming a nurse — because I wanted to be that voice.”
Green adds that the issue is not just lack of diversity — she believes there is also implicit bias within the medical community, and the key to combating it is a diversified workforce.
“There’s definitely a stigma when we go in to get care,” Green said.
“We are in severe pain, but it’s, ‘oh this person is drug seeking,’ and it’s like — no, we are really just in a lot
“I think that is definitely a reason why, as I got older, I wanted to go into nursing, because I feel like, as a nurse, we’re advocates for our patients, and me being a Black nurse and a woman — I’m not only advocating for Black women, but I’m also advocating for Black people who are faced with that type of stigma,” Green said.
Both women have had occurrences when they felt misheard while seeking medical care. Pena specifically cites a moment when she took her daughter to a dermatologist appointment and used the negative experience as a tool for teaching.
“My daughter literally waited weeks for [an] appointment — almost three months — [and the doctor] spent a total of six minutes with her,” Pena said. “He didn’t look at her skin. She’s telling [the doctor] what [medicine] she’s already used, and [the doctor was] telling her to use it again. [At this moment,] I had to allow my daughter to experience how one can treat you if you don’t speak up.”
Pena and Green continue to speak up as leaders of BSNAOU. They want to promote diversity
and inclusion on OU’s campus and ensure that other minority students in the nursing program feel like they have a support network.
“We just want to be there, to let them know [they] are not alone in this thing,” Green said. “If I’ve got to hold your hand all the way to the finish line, if I’ve got to be the one holding the ribbon for you so you can cross it — that’s what I literally want to do. Our journey is hard [enough] as it is, and we do not need to be on it alone.”
SMTD to present ‘A Little Night Music‘ at Pontiac‘s Flagstar Strand TheatreBELLA JAVIER Arts Editor
As Varner Hall renovations persist, OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD) has had to adjust accordingly and supplement their performance facilities with sites off-campus.
In shows prior – including last semester’s “She Kills Monsters” and “Kaleidoscope Cabaret” from earlier this semester – theater students performed in the university’s adjunct facility, Baker College.
After “space-shopping,” the department stumbled upon the venue for their first mainstage show, Steven Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music:” The Flagstar Strand Theatre in Pontiac, a well-preserved, renaissancestyle building fit for the musical’s elegance and Victorian time-period.
“A Little Night Music” originally opened on Broadway in 1973 and went on to win several Tony awards. Based on the 1955 film “Smiles of a Summer Night,” the show is about the hectic love life of actress Desiree Armfeldt and the men who love her.
Senior musical theater major Madison Wiley, who plays Petra in the production, described the show as being a story about
the right and wrong choices we make in love, who we love and why.
Aside from the challenging literature, students have had to adjust to the facility, as it differs greatly from those provided on campus. Shows are typically held at the studio theatre in Varner where OU actors are taught to perform in a “thrust” wherein the audience surrounds the actors. The Strand, however, is a proscenium stage which requires actors to face out toward a single audience.
Because Oakland’s current facilities are limited to the one style, students have had to modify what they’ve been trained to do for the sake of this show. Seniors, especially, took this as a challenge, seeing as they are the furthest removed from performing in a proscenium space.
“I haven’t had to ‘turn out’ [or play to the audience] in a really long time,” Wiley said. “[The style is] not realistic, and so it’s hard getting used to it, because you’re so used to facing the camera or because you’re so used to [performing in the studio theatre].”
On top of the circumstances students had to adapt to, they also had limited time to rehearse in The Strand with the full set, props and costumes. By the time of opening, the company will have had
a total of nine days to prepare the show.
This will be SMTD’s first time doing a Sondheim musical in five years, since their Fall 2018 production of “Into the Woods.” For students, studying and performing Sondheim’s works is an integral part of their education — one that, some may argue, last year’s graduating class — who never got the opportunity to audition for the fall shows at the time — was deprived of.
For those who aren’t familiar with his work, Sondheim wrote and composed musicals in such a way that amplified the story by utilizing layers and motifs. His style and approach was revolutionary, and remains extremely influential to his successors.
Sondheim’s music is a staple for a musical theater education, as it exposes students to both this type of storytelling and a challenging score.
“The songs ‘A Weekend in the Country’ and ‘Perpetual Anticipation’ are the epitome of Sondheim’s style,” Wiley said.
“A Little Night Music” runs this weekend only, March 23-25 at 8 p.m. and Mar. 25-26 at 2 p.m. at the Flagstar Strand Theatre at 12 N. Saginaw Street in Pontiac. You can
secure tickets online at https://www. ticketmaster.com/flagstar-strandtheatre-for-the-performing-ticketspontiac/venue/65568. Ticket range from $12 for students to $22 for general admission.
‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ sweeps 2023 Oscars
OLIVIA CHIAPPELLI Arts Reporter
The 95th Academy Awards ceremony took place Sunday, March 12, marking the finale of this year’s most prestigious film awards circuit. What made this year especially exciting, however, was the fact that 16 of the 20 nominees in the acting categories were first-time nominees — inspiring a much welcomed refreshment in Hollywood.
If you happened to tune into the Oscars at virtually any point that Sunday night, you would have gauged that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was sweeping the ceremony. The film took home seven awards — the most of the night — including Best Picture.
The Academy knew what they were doing, having Harrison Ford present the award and inevitably causing me — and all of Twitter — to burst into tears at his and Ke Huy Quan’s heartfelt reunion, having starring in 1984’s “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom” together.
Quan also took home his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — again bringing me to tears with his acceptance speech. His unbridled joy and enthusiasm felt so sweet after being overlooked in the industry for the past 20 years, and his win was fully deserved.
Jamie Lee Curtis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, again for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” with her shock first win making her — dare I say, in the words of Ariana DeBose’s BAFTAs rap — all of us.
Michelle Yeoh also won Best Actress—and her first Oscar ever—for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” making her the first Asian woman and second woman of color to win the award in Oscars history. In a sweet twist of fate, Yeoh was presented the award by Halle Berry — the first woman of color to win Best Actress for 2002’s “Monster’s Ball.”
Yeoh’s humor, tenacity and perfect red carpet style make her kind of everything I want to be in life. She also delivered one of my favorite poignantly perfect acceptance speeches of the night, saying, “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility. And ladies, don’t
let anyone tell you you are past your prime.”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” also took home the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, as well as the Oscar for Best Film Editing for Paul Rogers. My favorite part of the latter award was a previously unknown Rogers walking up to the stage with a surprisingly Ryan Reynolds-esque comedic presence and revealing this was only his second film, ultimately prompting “EEAO hot editor” to trend on Twitter — a perfect progression.
The highly anticipated award for Best Actor went to Brendan Fraser for “The Whale” — beating out an extremely competitive category of nominees which included Austin Butler for “Elvis,” Colin Farell for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Bill Nighy for “Living” and Paul Mescal for “Aftersun.”
I was personally most invested in this category because of my unashamed appreciation for — or obsession with — Butler and Mescal, but I feel proud of Fraser’s Hollywood comeback and forever grateful for his role in my childhood through all three of “The Mummy” movies and “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Thank you for your service, Brendan.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Sarah Polley’s win for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Women Talking” and her subsequent acceptance speech, which felt especially relevant amid the unsurprisingly maledominated nominees of the evening — Oscars, do better.
“I just want to thank the Academy for not being mortally offended by the words ‘women’ and ‘talking’ so close together like that,” Polley said.
The newest ‘Bachelorette’ announcement
D’JUANNA LESTERArts Reporter
This article will contain spoilers from the current season of “The Bachelor.”
Bachelor Nation, the time has finally arrived for the announcement of the newest Bachelorette for Season 20.
With the end of current Bachelor Zach Shallcross’ season planned for March 27, the annual “Women Tell All” special premiered on ABC as part of a double-episode week on Tuesday, March 14. In the episode, former contestant Charity Lawson was revealed as the next Bachelorette — a reveal that came as a surprise to audience members and herself.
“I know that I’ll be making a lot of people proud, 100%,” Lawson said after host, Jesse Palmer, surprised her. “I’ve waited forever to find the love of my life. It blows my mind that I could meet my person and be engaged and literally have my happily ever after.”
With Lawson’s tearful exit during the Hometowns episode leaving Gabi, Kaity and Ariel moving onto Fantasy Suites, she finished the season in fourth place.
The new Bachelorette is 27-years-old and from Columbus, Georgia. She received her bachelor’s of science, rehabilitation and disability in 2018 and her master’s in clinical mental health counseling in 2022, both from Auburn University.
“This field of work is so beautiful, and I’m passionate about always advocating for mental
health in today’s society,” she said. When Bachelor Nation was first introduced to Lawson, the audience learned she works as a child and family therapist at a child advocacy center in Auburn, Alabama. On her Linkedin, her areas of specialty are “trauma, child developmental disorders, anxiety, veterans, couples and families.”
Lawson knows what she wants from her upcoming Bachelorette experience, “searching for a life partner who loves dogs, thrifting and a good tailgate,” her bio said.
Many fans were crushed to see Lawson’s heartbreaking goodbye to Shallcross this past episode. During the Tell All special, Palmer asked the audience how many of them thought Lawson would be Shallcross’s final rose pick. A good number of audience members — as well as fellow contestants — raised their hands.
Lawson will be taking over as the lead with her season set to premiere this summer. She acknowledges the fact that she is now one of four Black leads for the franchise’s history, behind Rachel Lindsay, Tayshia Adams and Matt James.
“I can’t wait to show little girls that look like me that being in a position like this is possible,” she said. “I know that I’ll be making a lot of people proud.”
There has been a lot of outcry from Bachelor Nation about why Lawson was chosen. Some fans are extremely excited for her upcoming run at being the Bachelorette, while others wanted someone else from Shallcross’s season, like Ariel, Jess or Christina. There’s a clear divide between those that want her as the lead and those that don’t.
With filming rumored to start the weekend of March 18, according to popular “Bachelor” enthusiast Reality Steve, there has not been any updates on the men being cast for Lawson’s season as of the time this article was written.
Riley Keough’s sensational ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ reaches finale
This month welcomed the release of Amazon’s highly anticipated series “Daisy Jones & The Six,” a ten-episode adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name.
The story travels back and forth through time while chronicling the mysterious rise and fall of a fictional 1970s rock band.
Riley Keough leads the series as the titular Daisy Jones with her fiery red hair and bewitching tenacity — ultimately showing why she deservingly holds the status of Nepo-Baby Royalty as the real life granddaughter of Elvis Presley.
Sam Claflin stars opposite Keough as complicated lead musician Billy Dunne — also showing why he has earned the title of Book Adaptation King. From “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to “Love, Rosie” to “Me Before You,” it is obvious that if you want a good book-to-screen adaptation, you need to cast Claflin.
Speaking of “Love, Rosie,” Suki Waterhouse reunites with Claflin in the series as cool keyboardist Karen Sirko — the only woman in the original Dunne Brothers band. This is oddly enough the second time Waterhouse has starred alongside Claflin in a story where he is painfully in forbidden love with someone other than his wife — a plot I will always welcome with open arms, because of Claflin’s unrivaled ability to look pathetically in love.
Waterhouse is also the perfect choice for this project — and, really, anything 70s inspired — as evidenced by her wonderfully retro street style and real-life budding rockstar career.
And finally, Camila Morrone stars as fellow Camila, Camila Dunne — the wife of Billy Dunne and arguably the heart of the series. From the eight episodes I have watched so far, Morrone has truly proven herself to be a heartbreaking actress, and I am so happy that Twitter will now finally associate her with something other than Leonardo DiCaprio.
Also starring as band members of Daisy Jones & The Six are Will Harrison, Sebastian Chacon and Josh Whitehouse — all of whom have truly transformed themselves into their charismatic 70s characters from the beloved novel.
In a delightfully creative twist, the cast also transformed Daisy Jones & The Six’s fictional album “Aurora” into a real recorded album available for fans to stream, with Keough and Claflin leading vocals with help from artists like Blake Mills, Phoebe Bridgers and Marcus Mumford.
Eight episodes of “Daisy Jones & The Six” are currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, with the final episodes nine and ten releasing Thursday, March 23 at 8 p.m. EST.
If you have not already been rapidly consuming each episode as soon as they are released — and then immediately watching TikTok edits of the very same material you witnessed just minutes before, except this time with a Taylor Swift song in the background — do not fret! You have, like, a solid day to binge
watch in time for the finale tomorrow night.
The show is truly a work of art — I am blissfully unaware of the book-to-film changes, so do not come at me, book truthers. But nonetheless, the most important thing I have learned by watching thus far is that I am apparently a sucker for hot, talented people creating morally questionable messes while adorned in 70s garb — enjoy!PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC
Miley Cyrus releases album ‘Endless Summer Vacation’
OLIVIA CHIAPPELLI Arts Reporter
On Friday, March 10, Miley Cyrus released her eighth studio album, “Endless Summer Vacation” — a more pop-centered follow up to her 2020 glam rock album “Plastic Hearts.”
During promotion leading up to the release of “Endless Summer Vacation,” Cyrus explained that when it came to the sequencing of this album, she divided it into two parts: a.m. and p.m.
Cyrus explained that the first half of the album represents a.m., “the morning time, where there’s a buzz and energy and there’s the potential of new possibilities.” While the second half of the album represents p.m., inspired by the nighttime which carries the “feel[ing] like there’s a slinky, seediness and kind of a grime but a glamour at the same time.”
After seemingly getting a taste of this concept through her first single “Flowers” — released on Jan. 13 — I was very excited to see Cyrus’ vision fully fleshed out. So, when I hit play during the early hours of its release, I was kind of thrown for a loop. I have to be honest — upon my first listen, I did not really vibe with the album.
I spent those first 43 minutes anxiously anticipating the first song that would stick out for me to put in my eventual top five list, but it just never came. Instead of my usual task of narrowing down a long list of favorites, I was instead faced with the challenge of pointing out a song that I actually liked.
After spending a good few minutes of silence debating what I must have done wrong, I decided to listen through the album again — and I am so glad I did. While I still could not really identify the “a.m. and p.m.” theme of the album, I did figure out that I clearly like the first half better — so that’s something.
I also was able to confidently compile my top five list, so here is the manifestation of my ranking stress:
The first single, the first song on the album and the first song on my list! “Flowers” truly deserves to be given its flowers, not only for its chart topping accomplishments, but also for its uplifting funky disco beat. I do imagine myself strutting Cyrus-style every time it comes on, an opportunity I will always indulge.
On my first listen, I wasn’t too sure about this track, but after my second
listen I can confidently say that it is one of the better songs on the album. I can now appreciate the juxtaposition between the light, summery, twinklefilled instrumental and Cyrus’ raw vocals that she is known for. I can already imagine the concert crowd singalong that will accompany Cyrus as she belts the word “jaded.”
3. Rose Colored Lenses
I am now realizing my so-called “top five list” is no longer a ranking in order from best to worst, as I just decided that “Rose Colored Lenses” might be my favorite song on the album. The song truly embodies that dreamy optimistic feeling forever tied to the idea of seeing the world through rose colored glasses.
I also think I am drawn to this track because it feels like a cross between every song on the “Booksmart” soundtrack and “Woman” by Harry Styles — which makes sense, as it was co-written and coproduced by Tyler Johnson, the genius also behind Styles’ song.
Cyrus first debuted “You” during her 2022 New Year’s Eve special with Pete Davidson when it was so new that she hadn’t even recorded it yet. The live version of the song ended up going on her third live album “Attention: Miley
Live” back in April 2022, so the final version of this song has been a long time coming — and the passionate piano ballad did not disappoint.
The final song I want to mention is “Island” — the only song from the p.m. side of “Endless Summer Vacation.” As its name suggests, the song has a smooth island groove that makes me, too, beg the question, “Am I stranded on an island? Or have I landed in paradise?”
Oakland wins series over PenguinsBROCK HEILIG Sports Editor
Jordon Banfield and the Oakland baseball team traveled to Niles, Ohio over the weekend to take on the Youngstown State Penguins in the first series of the Horizon League season. The Golden Grizzlies dropped the first game, but bounced back in the second and third games to steal the series from the Penguins.
Oakland was beaten rather soundly in the series opener by a score of 18-3. Bryce Konitzer got the start on the mound for the Golden Grizzlies, and the Youngstown State lineup jumped all over him.
The Penguins scored a run in the first inning and added three more in the second inning to establish a comfortable four-run lead over the visiting Golden Grizzlies.
Oakland redshirt senior shortstop Thomas Green flew out in the fourth inning, bringing home redshirt sophomore Drew Collins for the team’s first run of the game.
However, Youngstown State added two of their own in the home half of the fourth inning, and in the seventh inning, third baseman Brae O’Shaughnessy hit a grand slam to give YSU a 10-1 lead.
Oakland scored again in the eighth inning on a Luke Malmanger single, but the Penguins plated eight in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the win. The Golden Grizzlies added one in the top of the ninth, but it was all moot.
Youngstown State took the series opener, 18-3.
The second game of the series was much more exciting and competitive than the series opener was.
Leading 7-6 going into the ninth inning, Oakland was in need of a few insurance runs to keep the Penguins at a distance. It had been a hectic, backand-forth game through eight innings, and the Golden Grizzlies felt far from comfortable.
Malmanger and Reagan Paulina each drew walks, which started a big Golden Grizzly rally. Brandon Heidal singled, bringing home Malmanger, and the flood gates opened.
Oakland scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning, much in part due to the subpar Penguin pitching. The Golden Grizzlies tallied only three
hits in the top half of the ninth, but Youngstown State pitchers gave up three walks, two wild pitches, and the catcher let a passed ball go by, too.
It seemed that YSU practically gave the game away, but it stormed back in the bottom of the ninth to make things interesting once again. The Penguins put together a one-out rally and they quickly scored four runs in the home half of the ninth.
As the pressure mounted, junior pitcher Jake Matthaidess worked out of a jam to give Oakland the thrilling 13-10 victory.
The first two games of the series featured a total of 44 runs, which is an average of 11 runs per game for each team. The series finale wasn’t nearly as high scoring.
Collins got things started in the top of the first inning with a leadoff home run to right field.
The Golden Grizzlies continued to take advantage of opportunities throughout the game. Youngstown State committed five errors, and Oakland scored two runs off the Penguins’ mistakes.
Senior pitcher Travis Densmore was terrific on the mound as he plowed through the YSU lineup. He gave up his first two runs of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning before Banfield elected to bring in fellow senior pitcher Noah Stants.
Stants finished off Densmore’s masterful performance, and Oakland finished the series with a 5-2 win. It was the second consecutive series victory for the Golden Grizzlies, which now sit at 7-10 overall.
Men’s basketball 2022-23 season roundup
The Golden Grizzlies men’s basketball team ended the season with a 13-19 overall record and were 11-9 in Horizon League play.
One of the most memorable games was the overtime win against Eastern Michigan which set the tone for the season. The Golden Grizzlies showed their grit and heart, which they wore on their sleeve.
The men’s team also went on a winning surge with five wins in a row, ending the 2022 year in December and starting the new year on a high note in January.
The month of February was filled with a stretch of tough competition. To start March off, Oakland needed to win three straight games to put them in position for March Madness.
The team had to square off against Northern Kentucky as the first game for the Barbasol Horizon League men’s basketball championship. Oakland fell short at a 81-74 score, and this concluded the season.
During the span of the season, a handful of players were honored with several recognitions. Several individuals posted new single-game career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
Senior Jalen Moore scored his career-high of 37 points on February 17 against the Titans of Detroit Mercy. His playmaking skills, and most importantly, his love for the game and desire to compete and
win at the Division 1 college level, will surely be missed for men’s basketball.
On senior night this year, he thanked fans for the ride and Coach Greg Kampe referred to Moore as being an athlete that has had one of the best Oakland basketball careers.
Senior Keaton Hervey who also brought so much talent to Oakland is someone that Kampe wished he had for his entire basketball career. Hervey is a player that makes those small plays that end up being so big in the end. His name on the back of an
Oakland jersey will be missed as well.
“Those two seniors will go on and Oakland will have a special place in our heart for both Keaton and Jalen Moore,” Kampe said.
Trey Townsend achieved a 1,000 career point milestone, as well as Horizon League All League second team honors.
Blake Lampman had a career-high in points and blocks this year with 22 and four, respectively, against Cleveland State University.
Newcomer transfer student out of Mississippi State, Rocket Watts, had an impact on the team his first year at Oakland. He constantly took flight in several games, especially when it was needed most.
Oakland’s bench also stepped up and great role players, like Osei Price, Chris Conway, Lorne Bowman, Will Shepherd and Brody Parker. They all helped down the stretch of the season, and as a whole the team performed well.
“We’ll be back next year. We’ll be back to battle,” Kampe said.
The Golden Grizzlies never failed to keep the fans of the O’rena engaged. As far as how this offseason goes, they are looking to get back in grind mode because Kampe is exactly correct — they will be back. They will be back and even better, with a chip on their shoulder.PHOTO BY NOWSHIN CHOWDHURY
Women’s basketball 2022-23 season roundup
The Oakland women’s basketball team ended the season 13-17 overall and 8-12 in the conference.
Oakland University’s women’s basketball team is a team that can be described as dedicated to the game. Despite the Golden Grizzlies being knocked out of the Barbasol Horizon League women’s basketball championship by Wright State University by 10 points, the women have proved their potential for next year.
Regardless of where they stood in record standings, their progress throughout the season was always shown, improving game after game. Improving is always a plus for any team and the great strides they made throughout the season was certainly something to see.
What makes this team so special was that even though they didn’t go to the next level, the perseverance they had will not be overlooked because each game they came out with determination and pride.
The chemistry was continuously getting better each game, which made it worthwhile. Returning senior leader Breanne Beatty played the best of both worlds this season, on the offensive and defensive side of things. Her leadership was always shown, making sure her voice was heard on the court.
Raquel Ferrer-Bernad is a senior as well and was known for knocking down corner triples and making plays. These two seniors’ impact on the court will be missed. It is now an end to an era but they will always be remembered as student-athletes who did their best and gave their all.
Obtaining Alexis Johnson out of the transfer portal was a significant pickup, too. Throughout the season, there was never a time where she didn’t deliver. Kennedie Montue was also known throughout the season as a true shooter.
In addition, Brooke Quarles-Daniels earned Horizon League Freshman of the Year. She is the first in program history to accomplish this.
Quarles-Daniels is also the only freshman on all three All-League teams with six Nike freshman of the week Horizon League awards. All of her accolades were well-deserved, to say the least.
Every player on this Oakland team brought something unique to the game that made it exciting to watch.
The women’s basketball team will now take this time off to grow and use this as an opportunity to prepare for next season and exceed expectations, which there are high beliefs that they will surely do so. They will come back stronger and hungrier for a women’s basketball title.
Oakland golf suffers brutal defeat at Tiger Invitational in Auburn
BROCK HEILIG Sports Editor
Earlier this month, the Oakland men’s golf team traveled to Auburn, Alabama to compete in the Tiger Invitational. The Golden Grizzlies met 17 other golf teams in Auburn, including the hosting Tigers, but it was a rough weekend for head coach Nick Pumford and Oakland.
Oakland’s five-man team of Ellis Kinnaird, Colin Sikkenga, Bhavneet Sohal, Yaro Ilyenko and Anthony Comito struggled mightily throughout the course of the three-day event, and it turned out to be a week to forget in Oakland’s season.
In the event’s first day, Oakland failed to have a competitor finish under par, and the Golden Grizzlies set themselves up for a steep hill to climb over the next two days.
Kinnaird, a freshman, led the way for Oakland on the first day with a 73, which was one stroke over par and good for a tie for 44th place after 18 holes. Sikkenga, a graduate student, also finished with a 73 in the opening round.
Sohal followed closely behind with a 74, which put him in a tie for 56th place.
Ilyenko shot a 77, which was good
for a five-way tie for 74th place. Comito was seven shots above par, and he finished the first day in a three-way tie for 86th place.
As a team, Oakland finished the first day 24 shots behind the event-leading Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Only the best four scorers on each team are counted, so the Golden Grizzlies combined for a score of 297, which put them in a tie for 17th place.
The event’s second day didn’t treat Oakland any better. All five Golden Grizzlies shot worse on the second day than they did on the first, and it set them at the bottom of the standings going into the third day.
Oakland’s second-day score of 306 was the highest of any team over the three days, and it killed any momentum the Golden Grizzlies were trying to build going into the final day.
The Golden Grizzlies trimmed five shots off their second-day total in the third day, but their final-day score of 301 was still the worst among the 18 teams, and Pumford’s team finished comfortably in last place.
Oakland finished with an overall score of 904, which was 12 strokes higher than the next closest team (Lamar University), and 21 strokes above the 16th place team (Wichita State).
A 904-stroke finish put Oakland 40 shots above par, and 81 shots off the event-winning Auburn Tigers.
Oakland will head to the Craft Farms Intercollegiate in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The invitational is set to be hosted by the South Alabama Jaguars. The Golden Grizzlies will then enjoy a three-week break before embarking on the Redhawk Invitational in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Oakland will then depart for Florida, where it will compete in the Horizon League Championships.
Last season, Oakland finished third in the Horizon League Championships behind Wright State and Youngstown State. Three of the five participants from last year’s third-place-finishing team — Sikkenga, Ilyenko and Comito — are all back again this season.PHOTO BY BIJON STIGGER