Vol. 40, No. 6 - April 30, 2012

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APRIL 30, 2012

NASA flies students on the Weightless Wonder


The UHCL and San Jacinto College-North team poses with faculty and advisers in front of the aircraft known as “the vomit comet” after completing their first flight. Truett Manning The Signal The goal of education is for students to be able to exercise what they learn in the classroom, but three UHCL students and two San Jacinto College–North students literally got to watch their hard work take flight. NASA held their latest flight week, April 20-28, at Ellington Field. The Reduced Gravity Student Education Flight Program, or RGEFP, is a program designed for undergraduate students to successfully propose, design, assemble, fly and evaluate a reduced

gravity experiment of their choice over the course of four to six months. Christopher Burns and Henry Ascencio, mathematical science majors, and Paul Cusco, a computer engineer major at UHCL, participated in RGEFP along with two students from San Jacinto College – North. “NASA provides the flight weeks because it’s a way to expose students to the engineering design process and to give them a real world look at what it’s like to be a scientist or engineer,” said Rachel Kraft, public affairs specialist at NASA Johnson Space Center. “Our hope is that the experi-

ence of not only flying in microgravity, but of seeing an experiment through all the way from initial conception of an idea to data collection in microgravity, will inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.” Students who wish to participate in RGEFP must first form a group then create and submit a proposal to NASA. The students whose proposal is accepted must work on the projects on their own time. Professors and faculty are able to give students guidance when they run into problems but the research and building of the project is

student led. If selected, the group works with a NASA principal investigator lead for that project to prepare the experiment for flight week. In addition to the NASA official, one university/college faculty member is invited to fly with each team. Burns reached out to one of his past professors, Nathanial Wiggins, professor of mathematics at San Jacinto College-North, to recruit additional students to form a team. “If you pull a team together from independent schools, it shows a willingness to work together that is unprecedented in toSEE NASA, PAGE 10

‘Bully’ shines spotlight on growing problem THE LONG STORY Samantha Samuel form of physical contact. The Signal Joshua Klein, psychology Bullying is one of the oldmajor at UHCL, was verbalest, most traumatic aspects of ly harassed throughout his childhood. In the past, bullying childhood and adolescence. has been dismissed as simply “I was the freak, or at “kids being kids.” This indifferleast that is what I was told ent attitude is now being chalevery single day,” Klein lenged in the new documentary said. “I would go to school “Bully.” dreading the day that would “Bully” directed by Lee follow because barely Hirsch, released March 30, anyone, teachers included, serves as a call to action against ever had anything nice to the abuse of students by their say. It started in fourth grade ALLIANCE FILMS: COURTESY own peers. The documenwhen I was about 10 and Bully victim Alex Libby, 12, featured in the “Bully” documentary. tary follows the lives of three continued all the way until I children throughout the course graduated. I was never hit or of which is fear. It is common for adults of one school year and tells the stories of pushed into lockers; most of what I went not to handle such situations thoroughly, two families who have lost children to through was psychological. I was called leaving the victim fearful of retribution suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of any bad name you can think of almost and left to deal with the consequences for her 14-year-old daughter whose torment every day of the year. Two of the more “tattling.” Although bullying normally led her to bring her mother’s pistol on a popular ones were ‘faggot’ and ‘freak’.” takes place in the absence of adults, it has school bus. Regrettably, bullies do not always stop become even more common for bystandThe film explores the reasons why being bullies once they reach adulthood ers, both child and adult, to not intervene. bullying remains a serious problem, one SEE BULLY, PAGE 10 Bullying does not always come in the

ONLINE in this issue

STAFF BLOGS. . . . . . Campus Briefs Signal Frequency mixed SIGNALS

VIDEOS . . . . . . . . . . . NASA’s Weightless Wonder

SLIDESHOWS. . . . . . Houston International Festival TIPA 2012

Ana Gabriela Avendano The Signal Tyler Long, a 17-year-old high school student from Murray County, GA came home from school one night and retired to his room. The next morning, his father found him dead; he had hanged himself. Tyler dreaded the start of school each year; he had been bullied and picked-on since fifth grade until he took his life on Oct. 17, 2009. “Children with disabilities are 60 percent more likely to be bullied,” said Tina Long, mother of Tyler long. “Schools aren’t equipped or trained to deal with disabled children.” “Bully” is a 2011 documentary film directed by Lee Hirsch about bullying in U.S. schools. In the film, Hirsch gives a voice to bullying victims and follows the struggles of victims parents, like David and Tina Long, parents of late Tyler Long, as they mourn the loss of their son as a consequence of bullying and take on the school system that failed him. SEE LONG, PAGE 10

Use your smartphone to scan the QR code to the right to check out what’s new on The Signal Online.

APRIL 30, 2012



There’s nothing to like about invasion of privacy Employers request employees’ Facebook usernames and passwords “Private Problem” EDITORIAL Job seekers beware…background checks and drug tests are not enough for some employers anymore. Recently, various employers have asked applicants for their personal Facebook usernames and passwords to make sure candidates are not taking part in illegal activities. Regardless of if that is the real reason or not, it is an invasion of our civil liberties and should be illegal. It sounds preposterous, but with the economy in shambles, many people feel forced to sit by and allow their privacy to be invaded because they simply need a job. Individuals should not be put in a position where they have to choose between giving up their privacy or providing for themselves and their family. Robert Collins, a corrections services officer in Maryland, found himself in the catch-22 situation when he had to reapply for his job at Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a temporary leave of absence after his mother died. Collins provided the information because he needed the job but later complained to the American Civil Liberties Union because he felt it was an invasion of his privacy. Collins was hired for the job but has since left. It’s no secret that we live in a digital world and, at this point, people should know they have to

be careful what they post online, especially in public forums like Facebook and other social media sites because anything that has ever been posted can come up with a quick Google search. The exception to the rule is if you are accessing these accounts while at work; you are not protected because you are using company resources to access personal information. It is irresponsible to access personal accounts online while using company time and resources, and in doing so you give up your right to privacy. Plain and simple it is wrong for an employer to ask for an applicant’s personal Facebook username and password or login information for any personal account. Besides being a violation of privacy, it completely disregards other measures that have been put in place to ensure that people are not discriminated against in the hiring process. The intrusion is not just about seeing pictures a person took on vacation, but that it gives employers access to information like sexual orientation, religious belief, marital status, age and political affiliation, which are all things employers are not allowed to ask during the hiring process to avoid discrimination against prospective job candidates. Giving login information to employers does not only invade the privacy of the individual they are looking at but also that individual’s friends. Once employers have access, they can look through private messages that

could contain extremely sensitive information. That’s why more states need to follow suit after Maryland, which is the first state to successfully pass a bill that would prohibit employers from requesting personal login information to any form of social media or private digital communication. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley needs to sign it in order to make it a law, which he has yet to do. Several states have begun petitioning bills to prevent employers from asking for this type of information as well, including Massachusetts and California. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who have spoke out against the employers who have been using this practice, have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate these issues and verify that companies asking for this private information are not breaking federal laws already in place, specifically the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits and penalizes unauthorized access of a computer and unauthorized access for the purpose of altering information that is not permitted to change. Facebook has spoken out against employers asking for applicants’ or other employees’ usernames and passwords. Facebook terms and conditions state it is a direct violation for a person to share his or her password or gives

access to his or her account to any other user. So far, no other social media sites have publicly spoken out against the practice. Employers are crossing a fine line asking for individuals’ usernames and passwords and it needs to be stopped. Through Facebook, email or any type of digital communication, people have an expectation of privacy for anything they choose to keep private. Without that expectation, then it is a freedom being taken away from the public and that is unacceptable.

WANTNEEDO by Kalan Lyra While privacy is not listed as a protected constitutional right, the Supreme Court has recognized that the right to privacy is a basic human right. It is an essential liberty and the government needs to take a stand and follow the precedence.

Scan the code above to read Michelle Kaldenberg’s news article about employers requesting Facebook information from employees.

If Only I’d had a Lemonade Stand Lakeisha Moore The Signal My dad was a small business owner. Starting at the age of seven, he instilled in me the principle of working harder than necessary to get what I wanted. I didn’t realize it then, but I believe that he was trying his best to equip me with what I needed to be successful. Oftentimes, my dad would walk around blurting out little anecdotes with no forewarning. In my 7-year-old mind, it didn’t make sense. In fact, it seemed quite silly at the time. He would say things like “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and “He who rests must work.” I can’t even begin to describe how annoying it was, but today I am grateful. A sad reality that many face in modern day America is that not every child will have a father present in the home to teach them what it means to be successful. Fortunately, programs have been developed to aid in the development of preparedness skills in youth across America; one of those programs is Lemonade Day. Created by a non-profit organization, Prepared 4 Life, Lemonade Day is an educational program that teaches children entrepreneurial skills through strategically planning for and operating their very own lemonade stands. Imagine what society would

STAFF COLUMN be like if every child began developing the skills needed to become productive members of society by becoming business leaders, social advocates and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow. On May 6, more than 65,000 children are expected to do just that by setting up lemonade stands in 39 cities across the United States. Upon registration, children are given a backpack with an entrepreneur workbook that teaches them the 14 lessons of Lemonade Day, which includes how to create a business plan, secure investors, create and distribute a product, make a profit and give back to the community. Being a mother of a 4-yearold boy, opportunities like this one gives me something to look forward to; together, we can discover new skill sets that will help to prepare him for the future. Much like my dad did for me, I

try my best to instill in him business-savvy techniques that he can apply to multiple areas of his life, but as my dad would say, “There is no lesson like a learned lesson.” For him, the hands-on approach is the best way of learning. As an adult and mother, I can appreciate that principle and, in retrospect, I realize that if I had been given an opportunity to practice what my father preached, I probably would have been even more successful. My son isn’t quite old enough to participate in this year’s Lemonade Day, so we will live vicariously through my 10-year-old niece, Dasia, for the time being. She is what some may call a kidpreneur. At age 9, Dasia started her own personalized children’s storybook business, and on May 6 she will add lemonade stand owner to her resume. Pursuing another business venture is what drew her to Lemonade Day. Dasia also wants to help inspire other children to become kid-prenuers. My father, Dasia’s grandfather, would be proud. Lemonade day is a national program, but will take place locally both in Houston and Galveston. Those interested in participating in the event can contact the Galveston Chamber of Commerce at 409-763-5326. More information can also be found at www. lemonadeday.org.

EDITOR Jessica Brossack ASSISTANT EDITOR Samantha Samuel DESIGNERS Rosita Gomez | Michelle Kaldenberg Rebecca Scherrer | Bryan Waites STAFF Ana Gabriela Avendano| Chelsea Dennard Jennifer Ferguson | Theresa Greenshields Sara Haghipour | David Hensley Truett Manning| Tracie Momie LaKeisha Moore | Joshua Ojeda John Scoggin | Ashley Toman PUBLICATION SPECIALIST Lindsay Humphrey DIRECTOR OF STUDENT PUBLICATIONS Taleen Washington The Signal is a public forum and will print letters to the editor subject to the following: • Letters must be no longer than 500 words. • Letters to the editor are reprinted unedited. • Letters must be signed and include the writer’s full name and contact information. • The editors reserve the right to refuse letters, contributed articles, announcements and advertisements deemed libelous. Address letters to: The Signal Student Publications Office UH-Clear Lake 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Box 456 Houston, TX 77058

Reach the staff: Phone: 281-283-2570 Fax: 281-283-2569 Email: thesignal@uhcl.edu Visit the website: www.uhclthesignal.com



APRIL 30, 2012

Surviving cancer through a daughter’s eyes Sara Haghipour The Signal Cancer…that one little word can stop you in your tracks and change your life forever. It doesn’t feel that way just for the people who have cancer but for their family, too. When someone in your family has cancer, it’s like your entire family has cancer. My mother is a two-time, triple negative breast cancer survivor and the strongest woman I know. Her second bout with breast cancer began in January 2011 when she was diagnosed, not with a reoccurrence, but a brand new cancer. There’s never a good time for cancer, but during my mother’s illness, life was just about as hectic as it could be. I was working full-time and going to school full-time. My father was working out of state, and as much as he wanted to be home to help care for my mother, he

STAF F COLUMN had to work to pay for her cancer treatment. It is a strange feeling, the role reversal, when your parents start to get older. Suddenly you, the child, have become the caretaker, and one of the people who has taken care of you your whole life needs you in a way she never has. I went with my mother to what felt like an endless number of doctors appointments between her two surgeries, radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

Taking care of the house, grocery shopping and cooking fell to me. Many days my mother could barely make it out of bed and onto the couch. Chemotherapy had taken away her sense of taste for mostly everything. The only thing she ever wanted to eat were cinnamon muffins from HEB, which even made preparing a well-balanced dinner a tough task. Sometimes I felt guilty for feeling tired, stressed or depressed; after all, I was taking care of my mother, not living with cancer. I eventually learned that these feelings were okay, but at the time, I never allowed my mother to see them. The last thing I wanted was for her to feel like a burden. It was a difficult time in my life, but I got through it because I knew that my mother needed me and that was all that mattered. When you go through something like that, there’s not always a lot

Student attempting the impossible Theresa Greenshields The Signal Whenever I step foot into a classroom, I can hear the echoing voices of my parents telling me that if I didn’t go to college right out of high school and stick with it, I was likely to never finish my education. The likelihood of my parents’ warning may be a statistical fact, but I am living proof that it can be done. Even though I am confident that I can conquer this task, I still strongly recommend going to college when you are young and have a fresh mind. To paraphrase a quote from a favorite movie from my teen years, “Fear,” a father explains to his daughter that “It just takes longer to sort through 33 years of data than it does 18.’” When I graduated with my associate’s degree I was excited that I was finally moving on to an upper-level university. I assumed all the rumors about the large amount of older students at UHCL were true, so as I sat outside my first class on campus, I conversed with a guy I assumed to be a student who looked about my age. The fact that he looked surprisingly similar to a handsome character from one of my favorite TV shows didn’t hurt my desire to talk to him. Imagine my surprise when I took my seat and the gentleman in question didn’t follow my lead but instead took his place at the head of the class and introduced himself as the professor. One problem I didn’t expect when I returned to college was the enormous amount of studying necessary to be successful. When I was in high school I was one of the students that my classmates loved to hate. I rarely had to study and seemed to get straight A’s, which made my social life my main priority. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! After my first year at college, a social life was something that was a distant memory. The link to my old life were the weekly phone calls I received from my best friend. She was the human version of Twitter, keeping me up to date on all the gossip in our circle of friends. On the rare occasion I was able to attend a social gathering or party, I was usually too distracted by exams to fully enjoy myself. Studying did not just take away from my social life. It also tested my memory skills, which I had apparently lost in the 15 years between high school and college. Sadly, even after days of going over

S TA F F C O L U M N flashcards at home, all the information seemed to trickle out my ear during the short trip to UHCL to take an exam. In the last part of the quote from “Fear” I mentioned earlier, the young girl responds to her father’s unexpected statement with, “maybe you should consider upgrading to a faster chip.” If this were possible, I guarantee I would be the first in line for that chip. Then maybe I would lose the test anxiety I’ve developed and finally be able to have a little more of a social life. I realize now that I have painted a grim picture of life as an older college student. Don’t lose heart; there are some perks. For instance, I was no longer required to put down my parents income when I applied for financial aid, which made it all that much easier to get the help I needed to pay for school. Also, being closer in age to professors can be a good thing. I am able to talk with them as an equal MOST of the time. On a more personal note, there is one reason I am happy I made these life choices in regard to my education. I will be receiving my diploma from UHCL at the same age my mother did 34 years ago. When she received her degree she was 8 months pregnant with an adorable blueeyed, blonde baby girl. This is the same girl now working on her college newspaper passing on her knowledge to others. Even though my mom won’t be there to see it, I will carry a picture of her in her cap and gown looking as happy as I will be that I am FINALLY getting my degree. Now the real challenge is whether I decide to torture myself and go for a graduate degree!

you can do; you just have to get through it. Sometimes I would just go for a drive and cry because that’s all I really could do. I could tell my mother became depressed and some days didn’t even want to talk. I wish I could tell you that there was a way to cure this and lift her spirits, but that wasn’t the case. I felt helpless seeing her this way. I learned to listen and to let her know I was there and that I loved her. After my mother’s first chemo treatment, she told me that she felt like giving up because it wasn’t worth it to live feeling as bad as she did. That was the first time I realized my mother needed tough love to help her through the draining treatments, and I had to provide it. I had to be strong for her when she was weak, and I had to make tough decisions for her when she wasn’t thinking clearly. There were times when I felt like I had

to drag her out of the house for her treatment. Now she tells me she is thankful I did. I’m just thankful to still have a mother. For anyone who has been through this or will go through this, know that treating cancer is long, exhausting and painful. I am grateful and blessed that my mother is a survivor. Through all of the stress and sadness, I tried to stay optimistic. Maybe it was for my mother’s sake or maybe it was for my sanity – I’m still not sure. All I know is my entire life my mother has been there for me through everything, good and bad. I didn’t believe it was possible for our relationship to get any stronger, but going through a hardship like cancer brought us even closer. The bond I have with my mother goes beyond that of a mother and daughter; she’s my best friend.

Congrats to all spring 2012 UHCL graduates from The Signal staff

APRIL 30, 2012



Healthy fast food: you can have it your way Jennifer Ferguson The Signal Following recent health trends in the past few years, early last month Burger King released a variety of “better for you options” based on the findings of a yearlong study of their entire operations. The recent expansion, which introduced 10 new options, is the largest development to Burger King’s menu since the corporation opened its doors in 1953 in Jacksonville, Fla. The new options include white meat tenderloins, three salads, two wraps, two fruit smoothies and two flavored frappes. “We spent the last year analyzing every aspect of our business to better understand what our guests expect from the Burger King dining experience,” said Steve Wiborg, president, North America, Burger King Corp., in a press release from early April. “We found that consumers wanted a broader range of menu options to complement our signature fire-grilled burgers. This expanded menu gives consumers more choices and more reasons to visit Burger King Restaurants.” The chain also launched a series of new marketing campaigns, which include celebrities such as Jay Leno and David Beckham. Additionally, the King intends to revamp his image by modernizing the décor of his restaurants within the next three years. These changes will include modifications to the interiors, menu boards, employee uniforms and food packaging. While Burger King just recently added a number of lower-calorie creations, several other fast food chains have previously altered their menus to

accommodate healthier eating options. The question is, are these healthy options actually living up to their advertising claims? While numerous studies have confirmed the correlation between America’s obesity issues and the prevalence of fast food in our diets, statistics still show that more than 40 percent of our currency is spent on meals prepared away from home. The 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey states that amount is roughly $2,505 annually for the average Joe. Seeing as how Americans are aware of the negative health risks associated with this type of dining, why is it that, on average, about 6 percent of income is spent on these foods? “Busy lifestyles have made [Americans] dependant on convenience foods,” said Denise Cazes, UHCL health and nutrition educator, and personal weight loss counselor. “Fast food makes it so easy for us; it’s quick, most find it tasty and it’s on every corner, but it’s loaded with fat, sodium and sugar. Our lack of awareness of just how bad fast food is leaves us at a disadvantage.” Moreover, with the addition of dollar menus and other low-budget items, the decision to visit the local drive thru is often lighter on consumers’ pockets than their waistlines. Currently, 63 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. A survey conducted by Calorie Control Council found that while 45 percent of adults lost weight in the past 12 months, only a third was able to keep off the weight. Still, it is apparent that consumers are

Stay fit, gain a healthy life

Ana Gabriela Avendano The Signal Proteins are part of every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies. They are found in foods such as meats, poultry, fish, legumes (dry beans and peas), tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk and its derivative products, grains, some vegetables and some fruits. “Protein is needed by the body for tissue synthesis and repair,”explains Denise Cazes, lecturer of fitness and human performance at UHCL who teaches a nutrition class in which students learn about eating healthy and staying fit. The cells in our body must be replaced continuously, but when exercising, muscle tissue is damaged. Ingesting dietary protein assists with the repair of the tissue, hence strengthening the muscle fibers. Our bodies need a certain amount of protein, but more is not always better. Too much protein can have negative effects on the body. The FDA’s food guide pyramid suggests people start their day with plenty of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, vegetables and fruits. Add two to three servings from the milk group and two to three servings from the meat group, and go easy on fats, oils and sweets. “Food sources of protein include plant and animal options,” Cazes said. “Meat, chicken, fish and diary provide complete proteins containing all nine essential amino acids. Plant sources of protein include beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and small amounts in some vegetables.” Protein needs vary depending on a person’s lifestyle. For example, a sedentary individual meets his/her protein needs with a normal diet following the food guide pyramid recommendations. “Salads for fiber, carbs for energy and steaks for iron and additional protein and also drink lots of water,” said Tabatha Bognar, a communication major who exercises regularly. Bognar said she gets

her protein by making sure she eats healthy every day. Individuals who exercise strenuously need extra protein. Protein bars can be part of a daily diet because they are high in nutrition and protein, which can give extra energy through the day without requiring a person to eat a full meal. Unfortunately, some take this to the extreme and over consume. “Some bars and shakes have a high caloric value and might be intended as meal replacements rather than a snack, so watch the calories in bars and shakes,” Cazes said. Christopher Seiter, humanities major, works out five times a week. He started drinking protein shakes when he was 19 years old. At the time he weighed 135 pounds and wanted to add more muscle mass. Now 22 years old, he believes a lot of people who take protein supplements do it because of peer-pressure and lack of information. “People should not feel the need to take these ‘magical’ protein supplements to get healthier, lose weight and/or gain muscle,” Seiter said. “It is very possible to meet your physical goals naturally without increasing your chances of something going wrong with your heart.” Protein is important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy. A diet high in protein, especially meat, can contribute to high cholesterol levels or other diseases such as gout, a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and causes joint inflammation. A high-protein diet may also put a strain on the kidneys. “If your body doesn’t need as much as you consume, the protein will not be needed for tissue repair and will be stored as body fat,” Cazes said. “Excess protein has also been shown to contribute to gout, kidney problems and osteoporosis.”

insisting on lighter, leaner counterparts to their run-of-the-mill fast food favorites. These trends suggest that Americans have become more health conscious in recent years. What about Burger King’s new menu additions? Are these and similar products likely to influence a change in these staggering statistics? “Although many fast food restaurants now offer ‘healthy choices,’ often these options come bundled with other items that are not so healthy,” said Dr. Rebecca Lee, director of the Texas Obesity Research Center. “As an example, you can get a reasonably health-conscious sandwich at Subway, but there is a promotion to make it a full meal by adding a soda and chips, thereby negating the health-promoting aspects.” Nonetheless, fast food is not the only indicator in the health predicament we face. There are a number of other factors that contribute to the obesity issues in the U.S., including inactivity and overeating. “The number one cause of obesity in the United States is eating too many calories and not exercising enough… so it’s not just fast food, but it’s all food,” said John Foreyt, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. Here is even more fast food for thought: the ingredients used to make these alternative menu options are still comprised of the same processed meats and cheeses that constitute the traditional fast food market. The difference is in the preparation.


NASA Crutch-Walking Study

Study Description: Subjects will participate in a study that simulates the influence of weightlessness on skeletal muscle size and function. Participants will be required to wear one thick-soled shoe on their right foot, thereby, eliminating ground contact with the left foot. Daily activities will, therefore, always be performed using the assistance of crutches. To explore the effect of nutrition and exercise during the crutch-walking period, participants will be assigned to either a high-load or a low-load resistance exercise group and consume a protein-carbohydrate beverage before and after each exercise session. Participants will need to be available for frequent visits to the Exercise Physiology Laboratory for testing sessions. Before and after the crutch walking period, muscle biopsies (optional) will be taken from left and right thigh and calf muscles (8 total samples during the study); and assessments of muscle size, strength, endurance, and blood flow will be performed. Volunteers will be compensated for their time (restrictions apply to NASA and NASA contractor personnel). Prior to participation, a volunteer will receive an “Air Force Class III” physical examination at no cost to the participant however no compensation is given for the time spent during the physical examination. Qualifications: Healthy individuals with previous exercise experience (~2 days per week), 20-60 years old, non-smokers, not taking any medications, no milk protein allergies or gastrointestinal discomfort from consuming dairy products, no major health problems. For more information, please contact: The NASA Test Subject Screening Facility (7:30am – 4:00pm) Linda Byrd, R.N. 281-483-7284 or Rori Yager, R.N. 281-483-7240



APRIL 30, 2012

Lakeisha Moore The Signal On April 20, 1999, gunshots were fired at Columbine High School in Littleton, Co.; those shots were heard across the world. Before taking their own lives, students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris prowled the school campus opening fire on classmates and teachers. Rachel Scott was sitting on a hill near the west entrance of the school campus having lunch with a friend. Minutes later, four bullets pierced her body leaving her dead. Rachel was the first of 13 victims. A month after the shooting Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott, was invited to speak before a Congressional Subcommittee on the topic of school violence. His speech, which was video taped, focused on the premise of teaching children proper character and morals. Viewed more than one million times shortly after its debut, it is believed that the video of Scott’s speech struck a chord in many. “Those in attendance expected the speech to revolve around the topic of gun control,” Scott said. “Instead, the audience heard an assertion – when we stop teaching character and morals, right from wrong, we are creating environments within which Columbine-like incidents can occur.” Less than one year after his speech, Scott and his wife, Sandy, started Rachel’s Challenge


with the intent of honoring their 17-year-old daughter’s life and helping to prevent others from experiencing the earth-shattering incident that struck the Scott family. The program’s objectives are simple: create a safe and productive learning environment by delivering proactive anecdotes to bullying and violence, provide leadership development and individual growth, and improve retention and achievement by engaging participants’ heart, head and hands in the learning process. The program’s overall objective is to spark a chain reaction. The program was founded upon Rachel Scott’s personal beliefs. “Rachel had an inward motivation to accomplish as much as possible,” Scott explained. “Whenever she sensed an injustice being done to someone, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it was, indignation rose up within her. She was always ready to stand up for anyone who she felt was mistreated.” Rachel was known for her warm-hearted, gentle kindness and ability to connect with perfect strangers. She had a reputation of befriending those who were often looked over by others. Rachel is often compared to another historical teenage girl who encompassed many of the same characteristics: Anne Frank. Just like Rachel, Anne’s father, Otto Frank, played an integral part of


First Columbine victim leaves legacy, sparks chain reaction “I am sure that my code of life may be different from yours, but how do you know that trust, compassion and beauty will not make this world a better place to be in and this life a better one to live?”

– Rachel Scott continuing her legacy. In a class essay on ethics, Rachel wrote, “I am sure that my code of life may be different from yours, but how do you know that trust, compassion and beauty will not make this world a better place to be in and this life a better one to live? My codes may seem like a fantasy that can never be reached, but test them for yourself and see what kind of effect they have in the lives of people around you. You just may start a chain reaction.” Rachel seemed to possess an extremely special gift. At the age of 13, she drew an outline of her hand on the back of her dresser. In it she wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch the lives of millions.” Rachel’s Challenge has entered schools throughout the nation with more than 17 million total in attendance. Earlier this year more than 2,000 Dickinson High School (DHS) students were added to that number. “Rachel’s Challenge was very

well received by Dickinson High School students,” said Jeannie Thielemann, executive director of development and community relations for the Dickinson Independent School District Education Foundation. “This was not just another program where students were lectured to by some unfamiliar adult about the dangers of school violence. It has been so much more. It has challenged our high school students to look at how they can inspire others and create a permanent and positive cultural change in their school and community.” The Rachel’s Challenge presentation at DHS did what it was intended to do, which is to spark a chain reaction. DHS junior Madison Gove added another link to that chain by starting a program called GatorTrust. “The GatorTrust is a studentled group that mentors other students with their studies and works to inspire them to stay in school and help prevent schoolrelated problems,” Thielemann

explained. The idea of students helping students may seem far-fetched, but GatorTrust was a direct result of the Rachel’s Challenge presentation. “Sept. 14 will always live in my mind as the day our school began to transform; I have never seen so many people let their emotions out in such an open setting,” Gove said, remembering what it felt like to be a member of the audience. “With every classroom I visited that day, I witnessed a growth of compassion between students. The football jock and the shy, book-smart girl – strangers before – attempted to see eye-to-eye for the first time. Gove, like many others, accepted Rachel’s Challenge: to be kind, caring, compassionate and to start a chain reaction. “The Rachel’s Challenge presentation was one of the few assemblies that turned out to be more than just a free period off,” Gove said. “After the program we started to see students, not look past them.”

Student Life • Student Life •Student Life • Student Life ••

APRIL 30, 2012







LEFT: Ashley Noll visits child recipient of the Adopt a Mom program. CENTER: Van full of gifts on delivery day. RIGHT: Mary Kay representatives with gifts on Adopt a Mom delivery day.

Mary Kay Battles Cancer Through Adopt a Mom Program Ashley Toman The Signal Directors and consultants with Mary Kay Cosmetics have taken a stand to help make the lives of those battling cancer a little brighter by participating in an annual project where anyone can “Adopt a Mom for Mother’s Day.” Now individuals can “adopt” a mother who has a child battling cancer by providing the child with a Mary Kay gift basket for his or her mother on Mother’s Day. For the sixth consecutive year, Mary Kay consultants and directors are teaming up with Houston hospitals to help bring some joy to families dealing with cancer. Kathy Bullard, executive sales director at Mary Kay Cosmetics, came up with the program in 2006 so that she could help people, especially children, through Mary Kay Cosmetics. “With my love for children and passion to help others and admiration of Mary Kay Inc., I came up with the ‘Adopt a Mom’ program for children with cancer,” Bullard said. “The children love it when we come in their room at the hospital and tell them we brought them a gift to give their mommy for Mother’s Day.” Many may be familiar with the hot pink Mary Kay makeup containers, catalogs and skin products. However, they may not be aware of the annual projects and events held to support cancer research through Mary Kay Cosmetics. By purchasing a $25 basket, one can provide a sick child with a gift valued at more than $40 in Mary Kay products. The gift baskets are then delivered

to cancer patients at Houston Foundation’s mission is to “eliminate hospitals, such as Texas Children’s cancer and to end the epidemic of Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center violence against women.” and Ronald McDonald House. In 1996, The Mary Kay Ash Any unpurchased baskets are Charitable Foundation was established donated to Shriner’s Hospital, Casa to formalize the raising and distributing de Esperanza de los Niños, and of research funds for cancer. the House of Hope for Children in The biggest indication that Houston. the “Adopt a Mom” project has “We have been lucky enough to been successful is the continued receive Mary Kay gifts for a few years, participation of hospitals in the and each time we give them to our program for the past six years. patients’ mothers they are so incredibly “Every year we get more and thankful,” said Kate Shamszad, more donations,” said Allison Noll, child director at independent sales MD Anderson’s director at Mary Kay “With my love for children Children’s Cancer Cosmetics. “ The children and passion to help othHospital. “These absolutely love it. It is ers and admiration of Mary moms work so a very heartwarming Kay Inc., I came up with the hard to take care experience. Overall, the ‘Adopt a Mom’ program for of their children children are filled with children with cancer.” that they rarely joy. Being able to see the – Kathy Bullard get a moment for ExecutiveSales Director, child’s face when they themselves. The Mary Kay Cosmetics give their mother a gift is gift bags give them so rewarding.” a chance to feel Bullard expects to sell pampered and remember to take care 300 baskets this year to individuals of themselves.” interested in helping children Jamee Rivera, community relations diagnosed with cancer give their coordinator at Texas Children’s Cancer mother a gift for Mother’s Day. and Hematology Centers, explained “It is an amazing day filled with joy that the children are very grateful for and tears,” Bullard said. “The hospitals the Mary Kay consultants who deliver that allow us to hand deliver gifts are the baskets before Mother’s Day. so great to work with as they escort “The ‘Adopt a Mom’ project has us around and let us see the joy on been an incredible success,” Rivera the childrens’ faces as we hand them said. “ I believe the project has nearly a gift. That is priceless and such tripled in size since the very first year.” a blessing to make someone else Bullard found her inspiration to happy.” create the project through the success To learn more about sponsoring of The Mary Kay Ash Charitable a gift basket for the “Adopt a Mom Foundation, which she describes as, Project,” contact Kathy Bullard directly “a wonderful charitable foundation that at 281-701-8499 or kbullard@marykay. supports finding a cure for cancer.” com. The Mary Kay Ash Charitable



APRIL 30, 2012


ABOVE: The Houston International Festival, held on April 21-22, featured participants Taryn Espinosa and Vanina Skinner, two members of the Los Bombos Argentinos, performing the Malambo show, a step from Argentina. TOP RIGHT: Students from the Hyrita School Dance perform for International Festival attendees. BOTTOM RIGHT: Ajit Vivek and Amish Kumar perform the Indian mantra Hare Krishna, which is a repetition of God’s name.

Houston Named Most Diverse City in U.S. Tracie Momie The Signal Houston was named the most diverse city in the United States based on a recent report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas using census data from 1999, 2000 and 2010. The Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas are organizations on the campus of Rice University that conduct scientific research and sponsor education programs to help advance the understanding of pressing urban issues and promote the development of more sustainable cities in Texas the nation. Researchers from both organizations collaborated to compile the data. Results from the study show the city is comprised of 45.3 percent White (Anglo), 37.6 percent Hispanic, 11.5 percent African American, 3.8 percent Asian, 0.3 percent American Indian and Alaskan natives, 1.3 percent persons reporting two or more races, 0.1 percent Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 0.1 percent persons claiming “other.” Houston has surpassed Los Angeles and New York as the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States. Diversity has played a major part in Houston’s transition from its beginnings as a rural town to a sophisticated, urban city. “The biggest value of diversity is that different backgrounds bring strength to communities, different values and voices,” said Junia Howell, researcher for the Kinder Institute. “It’s also a reminder of how small we are, we don’t know everything and there is so much to learn and to gain. We become better people and a better community when we interact with others.” Houston is comprised of many different cultures working together but it is through the initiatives of organizations that focus on meeting the specific needs of their particular demographic that communities find strength and support, so that they are able to contribute to the progress of the city as a whole. One such organization is the Asian Chamber of Commerce, which has the dual purpose of promoting trade between Houston and Asia and to foster economic development in the Houston area Asian-American communities. This relationship reflects the importance of working together. “Diversity isn’t always about race,” said Linda Toyota, president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce. “It’s about learning from people who have different thoughts and beliefs. We should be inclusive but open to new ideas.” The city of Houston is not only known for its business en-

terprise and civic organizations but also its thriving entertainment industry, which includes sport franchises, restaurants, museums and a world renown theatre district. The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1975 by the late George Hawkins to preserve the African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich the community. The Ensemble employs a diverse group of actors, directors, designers and production staff. “Art has a big influence on diversity because art often speaks to social issues,” said Eileen Morris, artistic director for the Ensemble. “When people see or experience art they impact change because it feeds their soul and it helps heal the human spirit.” The shift in immigration, along with a decrease in segregation between ethnic groups, has contributed significantly to the ethnically diverse composition of the city today. However, not all of the diversity is concentrated in urban sectors of Houston. The report also found that two suburbs of Houston, Pearland and Missouri City, are the most diverse in the region and are statistically less segregated than the city at large. As diversity in suburban areas continues to grow, there will be an even more diverse population on school and college campuses. To help support the various multi-cultural students on the UHCL campus, there are several student organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. To find out more about these organizations you can log on to the UHCL homepage and click on “Campus Life.” “When students feel included and represented on campus, they feel empowered and excel in their education,” said Dr. Sheerekha Subramanian, assistant professor of humanities and faculty adviser for the Indian Students Association. These campus organizations rely on student leadership and encourage students to belong. The Intercultural and International Student Services (IISS) office champions diversity on the UHCL campus despite its many challenges. “My mission is to ensure that every student who comes to this university is successful academically and socially,” said Scan the QR code Dr. Linda Bullock, assistant dean below to view a of student diversity and director slideshow from iFest. of intercultural and international student services. “The IISS office has a great staff who plan, develop and manage programs that are designed to make sure we have a welcoming environment for all of our students.”

APRIL 30, 2012



IEEE UHCL Student Branch Wins Three Awards Chelsea Dennard The Signal The UHCL student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) won three awards from the IEEE. IEEE defines itself as “the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.” The IEEE is comprised of nearly 400,000 members – of which more than 107,000 are students – and has 333 individual sections on 10 geographical regions worldwide. Also, it has 2,173 student branches at colleges and universities in 80 countries, including UHCL. Pronounced “Eye-triple-E,” the IEEE and its members strive to provide a global community through the organization’s different publications, conferences, standards of technology, and various educational and professional activities. The IEEE gives awards for its members’ contributions of propelling areas of interest that the IEEE bases its premise. Accomplishments in education, as well as other categories, receive awards. Listed below are the three

awards presented to the IEEE UHCL Student Branch at the IEEE Region 5 at IEEE R5 Annual Meeting, held Saturday, April 21 in Tulsa, Okla.: • Outstanding Small Student Branch: IEEE UHCL Student Branch • Outstanding Student Member: Jose Alfredo Nava, chair of IEEE Student Branch • Outstanding Student Branch Counselor: Hakduran Koc, counselor of IEEE UHCL Student Branch, IEEE Galveston Bay Section and assistant professor in computing engineering “I can say that it is a great feeling to see the result of hard work and dedication,” Koc said. “However, I should emphasize that this is the result of a collective effort. Without my students’ and other university organizations’ contributions, I would not be able to win this award. This award gives me more enthusiasm to continue.” The awards section on the IEEE website states that “each award has a unique mission and criteria, and offers the opportunity to honor distinguished colleagues, inspiring teachers and corporate leaders.” The Outstanding Small Student Branch award is won by the most active and progressive


Region 5 Director James A. Jefferies, Jose Alfredo Nava, chair of IEEE UHCL Student Branch, and Hakduran Koc, counselor of IEEE UHCL Student Branch at the IEEE R5 Annual Meeting in Tulsa, Okla. Saturday, April 21. student branch based on the amount of meetings, the type of programs held such as technical and professional programs, and special projects that advance the objectives of the IEEE. The Outstanding Student Member award is presented to a student member who has given outstanding contributions of time and effort to their specific student branch. “It is a great accomplishment

that I did not know would be recognized on a regional level, and I am very proud of it,” Nava said. “It brings a great feeling of reward because all the hard effort and time that was put in over this last year into this organization and school was noticed by those around me.” The Outstanding Student Branch Counselor award is awarded to the student branch counselor who has best supported

their student branch, as well as promoted the objectives of the IEEE. “I am excited for Dr. Koc since he’s also won the teacher Piper Award at UHCL, and he is an outstanding teacher,” Nava said. “He helped stay encouraged and on the right path with his guidance and proficient mentorship.” One word to describe the IEEE UHCL Student Branch’s overall emotion from winning the awards would be “proud.” “At the various meetings and at the award banquet, I was very proud to hear our university’s name many times for its branch activities and the awards,” Koc said. “I cannot think of any better advertisement for our university among more than 300 distinguished attendees in the fields of engineering and science.” In addition, the IEEE Galveston Bay Section (the IEEE UHCL Student Branch is an entity under this section) won the Outstanding Small Section award. Koc is currently chair of this section. For information on how to join the IEEE UHCL Student Branch, contact Hakduran Koc at 281-283-3877 or by email at kochakduran@uhcl.edu.

UHCL Model Arab League attends National Council in D.C. A strong regional showing earns UHCL a national invitation Ashley Toman The Signal The UHCL Model Arab League team competed at the Bilateral Model Arab League regional conference in Houston March 24 and 25. The team received many awards, which earned them an invitation to compete in the 2012 National Council Meeting in Washington D.C. April 13-15. The team, made up of 12 student delegates, holds the title of “overall honorable mention as outstanding delegation” for their representation of Egypt, where they competed against 13 other colleges. The experience gives students a taste of what it would be like to work in a diplomatic capacity and gain international exposure. “The Model Arab League is a simulation of the real-world international organization, the League of Arab States,” said Joshua Hilbrand, deputy director of student programs at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. “Students role-play as diplomats from Arab countries and convene to discuss the most important and pressing issues in the Middle East today. The goal of each “country” is to find workable solutions to these problems while protecting its

national interests.” Tina Halcombe, An Anthropology and Cross Cultural Studies student, created the UHCL Model Arab League team in 2008. Since then, UHCL students have continued to take part in Model Arab League and have formally built a permanent student organization out of it, called MALSA, the Model Arab League Student Association. MALSA is a student-inspired and student-run organization that “seeks to promote and encourage participation in the Model Arab League by UHCL students and support students in preparation for the model.” “Students who participate in the Model Arab League at their schools provide the student the opportunity not only to learn about the Arab world through policies and politics, but they are also learning about debate,” said Matthew Kocian, Program Manager at Bilateral U.S.Arab Chamber of Commerce. “It increases networking opportunities and a better understanding of global politics and current events.” Mike McMullen, associate professor of sociology, serves as one of the UHCL Team’s faculty advisors. “The MAL is like the Model

United Nations, a chance for At the National Council, the college students to form a team represented the country of team and represent one of the Lebanon. One of the students, 22 Arab Countries that make Cindy Steffens, won honorable up the League of Arab States mention as outstanding headquartered in Cairo,” delegate for the Political Affairs McMullen said. “Student teams Committee. must do research on the country The Houston based Model they represent, and then in their Arab Leagues work closely council meetings, put forward with organizations such as the resolutions that represent Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber the policies of their country.” “Student teams must do MALSA elected and appointed three research on the country professors as faculty they represent, and then in advisers, McMullen, Dr. Jeff Lash, professor of their council meetings, put geography, and Maria forward resolutions that Curtis, professor of anthropology and crossrepresent the policies in cultural studies. their country.” When competing at the MAL, there are 5 councils that each team – Mike McMullen must have representation on, which are the Joint Associate Professor Defense, Palestinian of Sociology Affairs, Political Affairs and Economic Affairs. “The MAL experience goes of Commerce as well as The hand-in-hand with our CrossInstitute of Interfaith Dialog. Cultural Studies program,” “The Bilateral Chamber said Jane Terekhova, UHCL of Commerce is a business Anthropology student delegate. organization that promotes trade “It provides students with a between the United States and deeper understanding of the the Middle East/ North African region’s complexity. region,” said Aida Araissi,

president and founder of Bilateral Chamber of Commerce. “In the interest of building sustainable long lasting commercial ties, we sponsor this conference to ensure that American students are prepared for careers in diplomacy, business, journalism or whatever their vision leads them.” The students held two bake sales on campus and a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings in order to save enough money to attend the conference. “I am so proud of them and all of their drive and dedication,” Curtis said. “They competed well at the national level against top schools and got invited back to nationals again next year.” MALSA is open to all students from diverse backgrounds and majors and benefits those with an interest in the Arab world, as well as those with little prior knowledge. “Students should join for a number of reasons,” said Juan Garcia, Joint Defense Council delegate. “MALSA will help develop both an awareness of the critical role of Middle East in global economic and political events, as well as a deeper knowledge of the various cultures and individual states.”



APRIL 30, 2012

UHCL wins 28 awards at TIPA Conference Jessica Brossack The Signal The excitement in the air was palpable. With whispered questions of curiosity about the outcome, the 2012 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Awards (TIPA) began in Corpus Christi, TX. Taking place from March 29-31, with live on-site competitions, as well as prepublished submissions that were sent in for early judgment, nerves were on high alert. Who would win, and who would go home disappointed? At 103 years old, TIPA was formed in 1909 with the goals of improving journalism on all college campuses, raising the standards of college journalism, and creating a better relationship between Texas colleges and editors. Initially, there were only three categories the schools participated in; but today there are more than 100, not including more than 20 on-site competitions. Contests included various categories for photography, radio, television, online, yearbook, magazine and, of course, various newspaper. UHCL’s student publications brought home 28 awards this year, having competed against many other, larger universities. “It’s an amazing feeling to be recognized by your peers,” said Ashley Smith, UHCL alumna and former editor of The Signal. Smith won two awards at this year’s competition including first place for Critical Review. “It goes to show what an amazing program this school has when compared to the big campuses. It’s not just one thing—writing or design—it’s everything. Look at all the awards won across the board.” Director of Student Publications and Lecturer in Communication, as well as the faculty adviser for The Signal,


Mock medics carry the “injured” off site to be cared for at Del Mar College Hospital during TIPA’s live press contest’s staged event. Taleen Washington takes students to TIPA each year. This year it was her editor and assistant editor. “The classes that produce the student newspaper and magazine are capstone courses for students enrolled in the Communication program,” Washington said. “So the work produced is really a collaborative effort on the part of all COMM faculty and, of course, the students. Each year our students compete against the best in their field and each year our students do very well.” Washington also helps coordinate and judge one of the live competitions that take place at TIPA. This year it was the public relations release writing contest, part of a staged, live news event. Students were bussed to a secret location, given brief

instructions and shown the way to the ‘stage’. Once the action started, notes were furiously scribbled and photos were hastily snapped of the mock events that took place. The contestants were then were brought back to the hotel where they were given a set of instructions based on the event, and a time limit to write a press release concerning the event. The event took place at the West Campus of Delmar College at the fire training facility, where a mock explosion and HAZMAT clean-up occurred. It was orchestrated by Director of Student Media at Delmar College Robert Muilenburg. Public relations release writing, public relations crisis management, news writing, news television and news photo were just a few of the contests for which the event was

State Competition: TIPA Awards Newspaper Print

Critical Review Feature Story Illustration Illustration Sports Column Picture Story In-depth Reporting News Photo Feature Photo Feature Page Design Op Ed Page Design Editorial Cartoon Feature Story Sports Feature Story Editorial General Column Headline Feature Page Design Information Graphic Photo Illustration Ad Design Overall Excellence

1st Place 1st Place 1st Place 2nd Place 2nd Place 2nd Place 3rd Place 3rd Place 3rd Place 3rd Place 3rd Place 3rd Place HM HM HM HM HM HM HM HM HM HM

Scan the QR code below to view a slideshow of this year’s TIPA conference and to view the full list of UHCL awards/awardees.

created. “It was remarkably easy to set this up,” Milenburg said. “I contacted the paramedic department and we came up with the idea, and the fire department ran with it. The goal was to offer a variety of things to cover. It worked out pretty well; I’m pretty happy.” The conference also included workshops, guest speakers, student activities and an awards breakfast. One of the distinguished guest speakers was Karen Elliott House. House’s many accomplishments include being a member of The Wall Street Journal, winning a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Middle East, and being named president of Dow Jones’ international group. Since retiring, House has come back

to Texas where she originally graduated from UT-Austin. She offered sound advice for journalism students. “You can Google anything, but you don’t know the quality of the information,” House said. “The most original reporting is still done by newspapers and magazines. Just remember to learn from the past and the mistakes other people have made. “Through good reporting, newspapers can make people curious about the things they are supposed to be curious in. It’s all in the context—not just headlines—but knowledge, honest, intelligent, informative journalism called ‘Lighthouse Journalism’ because it lights your way forward.”



NASA: continued from page 1


Students and team leaders prepare their experiments prior to launch.

BULLY: continued from page 1

feedback for their project. If they experience any problems during their first flight, they can correct the issues for the second flight. The teams test their experiments at Ellington Field on their scheduled day. To simulate reduced gravity, each student team flies in a modified Boeing 727-200 airplane known as the “Weightless Wonder” and nicknamed the “Vomit Comet.” The motion of the flight can make some people feel nauseous and vomit. The reduced gravity aircraft flies 30 zero parabolic maneuvers, 1 Lunar and 1 Martian maneuver over the Gulf of Mexico. This parabolic pattern provides about a

points out Julie Smith, coordinator for women’s and LGBT services for UHCL, who says that bullying is not something that people easily grow beyond. “Unfortunately, high school follows us where ever we go,” Smith said. “There is a new kind of power as an adult bully. These adult bullies are the same people that harass people at work or abuse their wives and children at home.” Smith helped launch a program at UHCL called the Safe Zone Program “designed to help create a safe and supportive campus environment for all members of the UHCL community.” The program was created to specifically address the unique needs of those members of the community who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The producers of “Bully” received a huge victory when the Motion Picture Association of America agreed to change the film’s rating from R to the less-restrictive PG-13, allowing the film to reach its target audience and to be shown in schools. The decision for the original rating was based on strong language. A petition on Change. org demanding that the MPAA change the Rrating received more than 500,000 signatures. Petitioners argued the documentary has the potential to both change and save lives. Smith wholeheartedly supports having the documentary shown in schools saying the movie addresses several problems that need to be discussed. “Bullying puts limitations on both bullies and victims and prevents them from reaching their full potential,” Smith said. “It can be pure torture, disruptive to society and distracts [students] from learning. At some point in his or her life, something happened to make that person a bully. Showing this documentary in schools can be a good learning experience for bullies and their victims; they might learn to open their hearts and minds.” “Bully” was produced by Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists. Patricia Finneran, managing producer at the Sundance Documentary Film Program, states that Sundance supports documentaries that promote social justice and “Bully” does just that. “This documentary helps create a movement for social justice and change,” Finneran said. “Bully” contains an emotional plea to respect the victims of bullying who chose death as their only escape by encouraging people to think of ways to help the living.

minute and thirty seconds of hyper gravity, about 1.8G-2G, as the plane climbs to the top of the parabola. Once the plane reaches the top of the parabola, it starts to “nose over” and descends toward Earth. The plane experiences approximately 20-30 seconds of microgravity, or 0G, which is when the students begin testing their experiments. Burns is no stranger to this experience. This flight week marked his second time to participate in NASA’s program. This year, Burns is the team leader for the UHCL and San Jacinto North flight team. “The first time you fly, you are so overtaken with the environment, but the second time, you can focus more on the research rather than the environment.” Jarrett Lockridge, Mathematics major at San Jacinto College–North, participated in NASA’s flight week and flew for the first time. “The flight was pretty fun to be honest with you,” Lockridge said. “Overall, it was amazing. It brought a group of students together to accomplish amazing things.” The idea behind the team’s experiment came from NASA researchers. Burns and his team applied to the program to conduct the experiment and submitted their proposal to NASA in October 2011. They began building their experiment over the following winter break. The team’s experiment tested the feasibility of using an Xbox Kinect to replace a keyboard, joystick and

LONG: continued from page 1 Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and intentionally excluding someone from a group. “It was so hard to film for this; Lee showed up just five weeks after Tyler’s death,” Tina Long said. “Our emotions were very raw, but we are now thankful that Lee walked into our lives. It has helped with our healing process.” Tyler Long had Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD). WebMD defines PDDs as a “group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate and to use imagination.” Tyler was a victim of bullying for years at school. David and Tina Long fought for their son when he was alive and they continue to do so today. “After Tyler’s death, we vowed to raise awareness of the issue of bullying,” Tina Long said. The Long’s believe Hirsch produced a beautiful work with the “Bully” film. “The movie starts with Tyler looking into a video camera. After seeing the movie, conversations about bullying are started,” Tina Long said. “It shows what really happens to our children. If one life can be saved, then the movie has done its job. Parents, administrators, teachers, and children are creating anti-bullying programs after seeing this film. It is inspiring!” The Long’s involvement with the movie “Bully” began after Tyler’s passing. A local news anchor, David Carroll, organized a town hall meeting to bring the community together to discuss bullying. Hirsch read about the meeting and decided to call the Long family from New York and told them he was coming to Georgia to film a documentary about bullying. “Like a lot of kids who are ‘different,’ Tyler was victimized by bullies,” Carroll said. Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers explains PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The Center works to unite, engage and educate communities nationwide to address bullying through creative,

relevant and interactive resources. One study shows 60 percent of children with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared to 25 percent of all students. Tina and David Long say they feel honored to be part of the “Bully” film and project. As a result of the documentary, many resources have been created, one of which is a toolkit directed for parents who have children being bullied that was made by The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). The Longs have partnered with NCLD and “Bully” to help promote the available resources. Bullying affects the entire family.

mouse in a microgravity environment. Xbox Kinect is normally used for playing video games. The device is a small, rectangular box with a camera that is placed on a television set. The camera detects the person’s body movements and allows the person to become the controller. Burns and his team believe that this technology has the potential to change the way NASA controls their robotic equipment in space. “It has the potential to save space and optimize systems,” Burns said. Burns encourages all students in his field, or anyone interested in science, technology, engineering and/or math, to experience this or a similar program. He says the process can be stressful and taxing, but says it is a very unique, fun and amazing experience. “There is a camaraderie that develops before and after you fly that is unparalleled to any experience I’ve ever been a part of,” Burns said. Kraft believes that the results from flight week may help NASA engineers think about the development of future hardware. “The aim is to give students a unique experience that lets them apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and learn more about how the environment of microgravity alters scientific principles,” Kraft said.

Kids are targets of physical and verbal abuse, which can result in feeling powerless and depressed; on the other hand, parents often struggle with feelings of frustration and helplessness to protect their children. “If we all come together, we can make it a ‘Bully Free World,’ tolerance is the key,” Tina Long said. “The bystanders have to be supported when they stand up for someone. If we don’t use this movement to make a change, then this issue will continue and more children will be lost. Now is the time.... Do it for Tyler.” TINA AND DAVID LONG: COURTESY

day’s academic environment,” Burns said. NASA started the RGEFP in 1995 as a program for engineering students. Throughout the years, it has expanded to include a variety of student groups as well as educators who teach grades K-12. Flight weeks, which occur several times a year, consist of student teams from different universities across the country with 17 teams participating in this most recent flight week. NASA hopes that by doing this, it will help to provide faculty members with teaching materials in their classroom as well as encourage future students to take part in the program. Teams are able to fly their experiment twice to ensure accurate

APRIL 30, 2012

TOP: Tyler Long’s parents posted this picture of him on their Facebook page commemorating his birthday April 25. BOTTOM: Parents of Tyler Long, Tina and David Long, with “Bully” Director Lee Hirsch. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FILM,VISIT THE WEBSITE THEBULLYPROJECT.COM. FOR INFORMATION ON AVAILABLE RESOURCES,VISIT SPECIALNEEDS.THEBULLYPROJECT.COM.



APRIL 30, 2012

APRIL 30, 2012


34th Annual Student Leadership Banquet


18th Annual Student Conference for Research & Creative Arts


Students view original artwork at the 18th Annual Student Conference for Research and Creative Arts held April 25 and 26 in Atrium II.


Unity Club President Alan Mansfield poses with Jenn Clark, assistant director of student life, after accepting the award for Student Organization of the Year at the 34th Annual Student Leadership Banquet held April 20 at the NASA Bay Hilton and Marina. Unity was also presented awards for Social Awareness Event of the Year and Peers’ Choice for Best Student Organization of the Year. Students and student organizations were recognized for various achievements and contributions during the 2011-2012 school year. For a complete list of students and organizations recognized at the banquet, visit www. uhclthesignal.com. More photos from the event can be viewed online on the UHCL Student Life Facebook page, located at www.facebook.com/ UHCLStudentLife.

2012-2013 SGA Executive Council

Calendar of Events •May 11: Official Closing of Spring 2012 semester •May 11: Degree Conferral Date •May 19: Commencement Ceremonies at Reliant Arena •May 22: Spring grades available over E-Services Online •June 1: Summer Open Registration closes •June 2-6: Summer Late Registration •June 1: Fee Payment Deadline for Summer Open Registration by 5:00 p.m. •June 4: First Class Day for 1st 5-Week Session •July 4: University Holiday-Independence Day •July 7: Last Class Day for 1st 5-Week Session

2012 Outgoing Officers SGA Executive Council

Henry Hodde, president


From left: Sarah Hopson, president; Doreen Bridges, vice president-committee coordinator; and Carla Bradley, vice president-student outreach and communication. Not pictured is Grace Striz, vice president-administration.

Wardah Ajaz, vice presidentstudent outreach & communication

Sarah Hopson, vice presidentcommittee coordinator

Shilpa Chandra, vice presidentadministration

Thank you for your commitment to Student Government!

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