The Case for Universal Basic Income (UBI). OPINION PIECE

By: Woohyun Song

As poverty and the wealth gap have been on an alarming rise within the past few decades, there has been further consideration about how to reduce the negative impact of these issues or to eliminate them entirely. One of these solutions is the concept of a Universal Basic Income, or UBI. Precise definitions of UBI are often disputed, both by proponents and opponents of the concept, but the fundamental basis of what the UBI is shared by the many theoretical and practical implementations of the concept. According to the Stanford Basic Income Lab, the UBI is: “a universal, unconditional, individual, regular and cash payment”. These implementations of UBI may have differences due to many factors, mostly related to the political, geographical, and historical situations of each region. The differences usually amount to differences in the amount paid, how often they are paid, and how long they are valid for. 

Upon hearing this description of the UBI program, one may think to classify this program in the same vein as social welfare programs. However, it is important to distinguish between UBI and social welfare programs because of a fundamental difference between the two: the universality of UBI whereas welfare programs are typically limited to certain groups of people, usually the socially disadvantaged. While many welfare programs have shown their benefit to society through their reduction of unemployment and poverty, they have also been highly criticized by many because of the conditions placed upon the welfare recipients, which often puts people in a sort of “poverty trap”, as described by Professor Greg Mankiw of Harvard University. Among other factors, welfare often leads to a situation where poverty already prevalent in a system does not get eradicated or even reduced, but instead worsens at increased rates. 

The unconditionality of UBI mitigates this “poverty trap” and instead provides a platform from which people can begin to raise themselves out of poverty while having a guaranteed and sustained amount of income that they can rely on even when not in the face of immediate poverty. Because UBI is only meant to be a basic platform in which one can remove oneself from poverty or similar situations, there is no need for this UBI to cover the entirety of one’s expenses. 

Early 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, presented “the Freedom Dividend” a socioeconomic policy that would essentially be a UBI and where the government would provide every adult with a sum of $1,000 every month. Just as described above, this sum of money is nowhere near enough money for many living in the United States to fully sustain themselves for a month, but the extra money provided to them would show to be useful to many who hold many extra part-time jobs or frequently work overtime just to be able to sustain themselves. 

However, as automation and AI has been steadily increasing within the past few decades, some have advocated for a system where the UBI provides for the entireties of one’s expenses for necessities, which would make the act of working for a job entirely optional. Although at first glance this might seem to be a bad idea, as it would seem not to motivate people to not work, early experiments in Canada with UBI shows that this is not the case. In those experiments, only around 1% of the population moved out of their jobs, most often to either care for their families or to pursue different careers and education. This would also allow workers to have greater leverage and freedom against their employers, allowing them to advocate for better working conditions or look for a different employer entirely. This would provide freedoms for the worker unlike anything before, and reduce workplace injustices significantly. 

One of the greatest criticisms of such programs is that if people are allotted “free money” then they would immediately waste this money on commodities such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. It is not difficult to parse through the abhorrent classism that is apparent through the fact that much of this criticism comes from the more wealthy and directed at the poor or working-class, and on top of that, it should be greatly noted that such criticisms are entirely untrue. According to the paper “Cash Transfers and Temptation Goods” by David K. Evans and Anna Popova from the World Bank and Stanford University, it is incredibly uncommon for many recipients of cash through these programs to spend that money on these unnecessary goods and services, and usually spend that money for the purchase of necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. In fact, wealthier groups of people tend to spend more money on unnecessary goods and services than do poorer groups of people. 

Another factor to consider is how wealthier people are more likely to hoard and store their money rather than spend it, whereas, in less wealthy populations, it is quite likely for the bulk of that money to be spent right away and for that money to return to the economy. This, in addition to the fact that an increase in income for the entire population would only mean an increase in the spending and demand in the market, would mean a net increase in the overall GDP of a country, rather than a decrease, providing further benefits to the country that has implemented such a policy.

The most recent and one of the larger implementations of UBI has been in South Korea. As COVID-19 brought both the national and local economies to greatly slow down, making many lose jobs and therefore access to their main sources of income, the government of the Gyeonggi province in South Korea had decided to experiment with a UBI policy for its constituents, with a focus on rebooting the smaller businesses within the local economies in the area. Each participant was given around $220 every quarter, with the only limitation of the money being that it has to be spent within their localities. This functioned to greatly increase consumption within the local economies and a net positive for both the small businesses and the constituents of the province as community engagement was significantly boosted due to these policies. Participants of this experiment also noted the greater freedom they felt as they did not have the need to hold multiple part-time jobs just to sustain themselves, and the extra time they were able to spend as a result of this. Some spent this time furthering their education, with an interviewed participant noting how she was able to finish up her bachelor’s degree thanks to this program. 

These benefits of UBI, shown both within theoretical and experimental terms, show the amazing effectiveness of this program and lead us to consider such a system for our own communities. As the research is practically only in its infancy, further benefits of the program are yet to be realized and only exist as a limited concept, but hopefully, such systems or similar systems will be used in the future to reduce poverty and suffering not only in this country but also worldwide.

The Acts of Young Athletes During These Unprecedented Times

By: Chloe Bruno

Young athletes are struggling to get better and compete in their sports. As COVID cases go down in California, less restrictions are allowing athletes to get together and practice. However the restrictions that are in place depend on the school district. In the Placentia Yorba-Linda School District they are allowing athletes to come on campus and practice with face masks, while enforcing 6 feet distance, making the athletes bring their own water, checking their temperatures often, and disinfecting the equipment regularly. While this is good news for sports, it’s not enough for some of them that involve close contact like football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, etc. 

High school athletes are very restricted at this time, as they already have disadvantages compared to athletes in programs out of school. This puts the current seniors’ sports in uncertainty for their college career. For now in California there will be a season later in the year but if cases go back up there may not be one which could make it difficult or impossible for colleges to give out scholarships based on an athletes performance on their high school team. This also makes an impact on the sports program because many athletes’ parents may pull them from their sports because of concerns about the virus. This makes teams smaller and causes less money to go to the program and increases the possibility of the program being dropped. Many high schools programs are practicing off campus at undisclosed locations like a park or even a coach’s house. Some athletes are even getting together by themselves to workout on their own.

The only way athletes are getting real competition is if they are in a club or another program outside of school. These athletes are practicing non stop and even traveling out of state to compete as there are no games or tournaments in California. They’re also going out of the county just to practice with less restrictions. This can be way pricier than normal since they are traveling farther than usual. This brings concerns about whether it is safe or not to have a lot of people in one location at a time. It’s even more concerning since there will be a lot more people traveling due to the small amount of games and tournaments in certain areas. These athletes and parents are receiving criticism but they continue to go and play in their games and tournaments. 

With this all happening it can only put athletes with a lower income at a disadvantage. It’s hard for athletes to travel long distances for practices especially if they or their parents can’t drive them there. While many high schools are free and can be paid for by fundraising, they cannot afford to pay for club practices that can range from $50-$200 a month. This can also cause young athletes to lose motivation even if there is a chance there will be a season, which can lead them to put on more unhealthy weight or even do nothing.

During these times young athletes are taking a hit. Although for some it may not be a future for them, it’s a way they get out of trouble.  But it’s hard not knowing what will happen and continuing to work when the future is undetermined. There are some young athletes who are taking action to become better athletes and practice non stop. This puts other athletes who live where the cases are higher at a disadvantage, so kids in the city are struggling much more than the kids who live elsewhere. CIF is trying their best to find a way to have a season for the young athletes but if the cases continue to stay high there won’t be one.

Five Everyday Applications of Artificial Intelligence

By: Vivian Wang

Artificial intelligence. As sophisticated as artificial intelligence may sound, artificial intelligence can be found in several everyday activities, ranging from online shopping to web searching. Artificial intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence in computers to mimic human capabilities like speech recognition, decision-making, and processing of languages. This concept was first introduced in 1956 by John McCarthy, with Alan Turing expanding on McCarthy’s work only five years later. Chris Smith from the University of Washington explains how many breakthroughs of technology are oftentimes too subtle for most people to see but these technological advancements still have monumental impact on today’s society. 

As the email notification pops up at the top of one’s phone, the user is pleasantly surprised with automatically-generated, suggested responses such as “Thank you!”, “That sounds great, I’ll see you tomorrow!”, or “How about we reschedule to next week?”. With the touch of a finger, users can instantly reply to the email using Gmail’s suggested replies. The creation of Gmail’s smart replies relies heavily on artificial intelligence as Gmail has to process the email and understand the language used by the sender.

Artificial intelligence makes another appearance on Google’s search engine with predictive searching features. As the user begins to type “funny YouTube videos…”, Google instantly surprises the user with suggestions such as “funny YouTube videos of parrots” or “funny YouTube videos to procrastinate on homework”. It may seem paranormal to Google users when seeing such tailored suggestions, but the predictive searches are based on Google’s data that Google constantly collects about the user. A casual search of “funny cat videos” trains Google’s artificial intelligence as Google continues to learn about the user’s interests and other information including location, age, and gender. 

Similarly, when shopping on Amazon, Amazon shoppers become pleasantly surprised when scrolling to the bottom of the web page as their eyes meet with personal recommendations. On Amazon, there is a section titled, “Customers who bought this item also bought”. This shopping section on Amazon’s website is primarily powered by artificial intelligence, mimicking the human brain as it tries to understand what a human is interested in based off of their Amazon searching and shopping history. Amazon’s innovative recommendations features that are powered by artificial intelligence account for 35% of their total revenue, as explained by Lineate when discussing the magnitude of Amazon’s recommendation engine. 

Beyond search engines and predictive recommendations, artificial intelligence also supports navigation tools such as Google Maps. As a Google Maps user rushes from a meeting at their office to a family dinner at a restaurant, Google Maps accommodates the user with the quickest route possible. Google Maps automatically eliminates the longer routes, all while indicating the areas where there is more traffic or even a car crash. Beth Brindle’s HowStuffWorks article titled “How Does Google Maps Predict Traffic?” delineates Google Maps’s incorporation of additional traffic features such as disabled vehicles and slowdowns based off of user’s data when users turn on their Google Maps app and have their location services on. Without realizing it, users on Google Maps continuously send data to Google Maps; Google can track the speed of cars and whether one area is particularly more prone to traffic at certain times of the day. 

At the touch of one’s finger, social media apps such as Instagram also rely on artificial intelligence. For instance, when scrolling through Instagram, users are oftentimes met with account recommendations. Instagram suggests accounts that the user would most likely be interested in following based off of the current list of accounts that the Instagram users. Additionally, Instagram takes advantage of the hashtags feature as a way to track the user’s interests. A user who continuously presses the “like” button on posts with hashtags like #cats, #dogs, and #cuteanimals would receive suggestions from Instagram, recommending the user to follow various animal Instagram accounts. 

Artificial intelligence continues to take a step forward each day as computer scientists continue to perfect various algorithms and features of AI. Taking the time to observe one’s surroundings, it may be surprising to see how artificial intelligence appears in one’s lives every day.

The Switch to Remote Life

By: Amy Morrison

Since COVID-19 hit, the world has been relying on the use of remote ways of getting groceries, food, and shopping through apps such as DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon. While the coronavirus has obviously made these services much more necessary for the functionality of the world, they weren’t designed to accommodate the overwhelming demands of COVID-19.

While Amazon has been around since the 1990s and Uber was founded in 2004, most services weren’t founded until the 2010s, like UberEats, Postmates, Doordash, and Instacart. With the new ease and convenience of shopping online, it seems that most people, even before COVID, were using these services in their everyday lives. While the internet has been around for a longer time, the shopping industry truly started to become internet based within the last 10 years. 

The most reasonable and common answer is because it’s convenient. While this is the most widely accepted answer, there are more nuances to it than one might think. According to HuffPost, going grocery shopping can cause many anxiety triggers such as picking which foods one needs, the potential for the self checkout to malfunction, and the risk of being within crowds. But Instacart conveniently bypasses all of these potential triggers, giving people with anxiety a very easy way to do their shopping. Another nuance, according to TotalBusiness, is the ease of “window shopping” online. A study run by EmpathyBroker, showed that only 13% of people in the United Kingdom who shop online know exactly what they’re looking for when they go to shop. When shopping online one can filter for what they want to see without asking a store attendant as well as comfortably search for things and not buy anything without the pressure from the employees.

Another reason for this switch to internet based commerce is speed paired with convenience. In this day and age, consumers expect their shopping desires to be fulfilled even quicker by using the internet. However when looking at the big picture, studies show that may not be the case. When it comes to ordering things online, it feels faster because it’s so much more convenient doing all the shopping on one’s own device. However when it comes to clothes or items, it can take several days or weeks for them to come to one’s door. Depending on where one bought the item from, the overall time for the item to be received may be longer than it would have been to have just gone to the store. On the other hand, if one had gone to the store to get said piece of clothing or item, they would have had to manually look for it in the store which could take a very long time. Comparatively, the speed of online versus in store shopping can only really be determined on a case by case basis.

The effects of online commerce also should probably be considered on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, online shopping is detrimental to consumers and beneficial for online companies. In the age of the internet, many small and large businesses have moved their stock online. For large businesses, this is just another avenue to receive money. For small businesses and subsequently those small businesses’ owners, it is the only avenue to receive money for something they are very passionate about. Putting their business on the internet has opened up a whole new world for many small business owners. For consumers, it’s a very different story. According to Psychology Today and a study published in PLOS One, online shopping can actually lead to a decreased attention span, slower reaction time, and worse concentration.

While it’s clear there are pros and cons to conducting a lot of one’s shopping online, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. In the age of the internet, it’s always good to remember to be mindful of the health of oneself.

How One’s Socioeconomic Status Affects One’s Education

By: Inso Park 

Reading, while regarded as a basic skill, is one of the most complex and important skills that one can possess. Students are taught to value reading and the education that they receive. However, something as simple as reading, although seemingly universal, has shown to have significant disparities among classes despite its influence on the academic achievement of students. If there are such significant disparities in reading comprehension, how big of a difference is there in overall learning? In order to answer this question, we need to investigate the factors that directly impact students’ ability to read and learn as a whole. There are a myriad of studies that point to personal characteristics, family socioeconomic status, teachers, and school characteristics as pivotal points that affect students’ reading ability and academic achievement. But despite all of these different factors, varying socioeconomic status is arguably the most significant of them all. 

Socioeconomic status affects our society because it can give advantages to those with better living conditions. Some of these include improved physical and mental health. Studies have found that a lower socioeconomic status correlates with lower educational achievement, poverty, and poor health. Many countries are faced with this major problem with disparity between different social standings only increasing everyday. Reducing the gaps in socioeconomic status is important if we want to increase the focus on education and level the difference in the quality of education that different students are receiving.  

A socioeconomic background is a combination of an individual’s income, occupation, and social background. A student’s socioeconomic status and background is a key determinant of success and changes in their distant future. Students’ backgrounds affect them because it determines how many opportunities they are given. Depending on where they live and the school they attend, other students may be put at a significant advantage over their counterparts at other competing schools. It has been found that, on average, a student who attends a school in a higher average socioeconomic status enjoys a better education experience and outcome compared to their peers in areas of lower socioeconomic status. 

Although it is evident that students in poorer areas receive lower levels of education, this disparity continues on into other parts of their lives. Students from lower socioeconomic areas, if they attend in the first place, tend to attend less prestigious colleges than their peers. This is a result of their background and the fact that those areas do not tend to prioritize education. Studies have shown that not only is there lower academic achievement, but there is also slower rates of academic progress as compared to areas with higher levels of socioeconomic standing. Children from low level families typically enter high school with average literacy skills five years behind others and the dropout rate was the highest in low income families as well. The success rate of low-income students in the STEM field was much lower than those of students who do not come from an underrepresented background. Finally, individuals within the lowest family income quartile are 8 times less likely to attain their bachelor’s degree. Lower socioeconomic status not only affects students as minors, but it also bleeds into other parts of their lives and affects them in the long run as well.

Voting During Covid

By Snehal Shinh

As the elections grow closer, many are concerned with how to vote during these troubling times and how much their vote really matters. With these elections, as with any, every vote counts. These current times have involved so many changes that these elections are being carried out in a way to keep the American people as safe as possible. 

Many health officials are urging Americans to vote by mail as it is the safest form of voting; voting by mail is also referred to as “absentee voting”. This year has already seen a surge in the amount of voting by mail. In comparison to the last election, the projected amount of this year’s absentee ballots went from 27.4% to 50.3%; however, this is only considering the 2020 primaries. Regardless, the rising popularity in absentee voting is clear and reflects the growing concerns of COVID-19. With this in mind, the likelihood of voting by mail is higher especially with states encouraging absentee voting by mailing every registered voter a vote-by-mail application. Most states, like California, Colorado, and Florida, are not requiring an excuse for absentee voting. However, there are some states that are requiring approved excuses, but these are easy to get around due to being at high risk or caring for someone that has a high risk of contracting Covid, and all registered voters are allowed to be excused from in person voting. When voting by mail, getting the ballot sent out as early as possible, before November 3 to be safe, is always the best course of action as the ballots need to be received no later than November 3, except in some states like California where they will accept them up till 17 days after the election.

If voting by mail is something some Americans are unable to do or wish to do, the option to vote early in person is available. In some states, early voting had started as early as September, but others have started mid-October. Some who have already voted early have reported long lines, but this issue should hopefully resolve itself as the early voting period continues. Since early voting has opened up, the amount of early votes have already increased greatly with at least ten states reporting a much larger amount of early votes in comparison to the last election. The benefit of voting early in person is that the vote would be counted on the same day rather than later.

Of course, voting in person on election day is still available. As with in person early voting, the CDC has issued many recommendations for in person polling as well as guidelines placed by the Infectious Disease Society of America. First and foremost, workers at the polls are checked for any Covid symptoms before shifts to ensure the safety of themselves and those coming in to vote. Ensuring more polling locations that are well ventilated and allow for social distancing are to be taken into account. Voting locations must be thoroughly sanitized and wiped down regularly after each use of voting booths to prevent transmission of germs. These guidelines and suggestions show that in person voting can be done safely as long as election administrators take proactive steps during these times. 

It’s important as elections grow closer and closer to make a voting plan as soon as possible. For those that are unable to vote, encouraging those who are can to start making their plans is just as important. Each method of voting has its own benefits and steps set in to make the American voting experience safe and enjoyable for those who may be voting for the first time. As always remember to wear a mask properly at all times and maintain social distance.

Reverse Innovation

By: Young Kim

With the release of Apple’s newest addition, the iPhone 12, consumers are faced with the same question they face every year. How will the other technology company’s compare? The past decade has been a constant power struggle for companies such as Apple, Samsung, and even Google to create the newest, most advanced phone possible. Yet, this year seems to garner an interesting change. Compared to Apple’s iPhone 12, which seemed to add on to the growing list of iPhones released every year, Google threw a curveball with their Pixel 5 which was priced $100 cheaper at $699 than the iPhone 12 and Google’s past model the Pixel 4. 

Now, Google did sacrifice some hardware in order to focus on purely the camera allowing it to reach the price while maintaining an upgrade. While this may seem like purely another phone, it brings up an interesting concept within the tech world: minimalism. Now, the Pixel 5 is nowhere near minimal in any aspect, but shows how in a competitive industry outpricing the other may not be the move. These companies have maintained a consistent pricing in order to maintain competition within the market, yet, buyers feel as if they are buying less and less with each new upgrade. While the new phones released may have a better processor or the new best camera, there has yet to be a phone that has had the impact of the original iPhone. In fact, consumers seem to find that upgrading is not worth the ever increasing price tags associated with the newest drops. 

The world of minimalism has been expanding, especially in the past few years, in order to combat the materialistic world. It focuses on the concept of working with minimal needs and follows the concept of “having less is more”. In extreme cases phones such as the Light Phone show what true minimalism may look like. The company prides itself on creating a phone designated on focusing purely on utility and only includes applications for calling, messaging, listening to music, a calculator, notes, and only a few other essential tools. It prides itself on the simplicity of the device as it takes up as little attention as possible. Modern technology seems to find ways in garnering the user’s mind and attention, yet the Light Phone is based on the exact opposite concept. It defies the technology industry by being less and its message seems to be doing more. Priced at a market low of $299 with the color options of black or light gray, it succeeds at being the perfect minimal phone. Of course this would mean users would not be able to have the internet quite at their fingertips anymore and the sacrifice of a convenient camera, but those that buy this phone understand why the sacrifice may seem more important. It directly combats the addiction to staring at our phone screens all day by not even giving the option to do so. 

As overwhelming as the tech industry may be, it should be clear that the newest upgrades are not always worth the costs. With minimal upgrades and maximum prices, it seems that consumers want to take a step back and consider the question: do I really need this?

TikTok Star Collabs with Oceanspray

By:Chloe Bruno

A TikTok star has taken over the media with his immaculate vibes. Nathan Apodaca, also known as 420dogface208, is a 37 years old living Idaho Falls, Idaho. DogFace’s car broke down when he needed to go to work so he used the long board that he always keeps with him for emergencies to get there instead. On the way to his work he went down a hill and decided to capture himself cruising down the hill drinking cranberry juice from OceanSpray while lip syncing to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. This went viral and as of October 15 has over 54 million views and over 9 million likes on TikTok. DogFace has been notorious for posting similar content with good vibes. It’s not the first time his post has gone viral however this time it did get recognized in mainstream media.

The ceo of OceanSpray, Tom Hayes, decided to hop on the trend and made a video of himself cruising down a hill while drinking OceanSpray Cranberry Juice while lip syncing Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. This made a spike in sales for OceanSpray because it made everyone appreciate their good vibes and relatability. Employees at OceanSpray also made similar posts, working at their farm drinking their product while listening to Fleetwood Mac. There have been multiple employees doing various activities listening to Fleetwood Mac and posting the videos on TikTok. OceanSpray decided to gift DogFace a brand new truck with various products of theirs in Idaho where he lives. OceanSpray has also made an advertisement that features all the people that participated in the trend.

This has brought so much attention that the drummer of Fleetwood Mac, Mike Fleetwood, jumped on a board and cruised down on a hill drinking cranberry juice while lip syncing to Dreams. It also brought the singer and songwriter of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, to post her own video singing along to Dreams with an OceanSpray bottle in the back. With all of this happening it brought Dreams to number 2 on the charts for music. The song was released in 1977 and has now emerged back on the charts 43 years later as well as receiving an increase in streams and digital downloads. 

Big celebrities, for example Dr. Phil and Shakira, have also jumped on the trend. Dr. Phil rode in his golf cart at the studio where he films and had someone record him drinking Ocean Spray while singing along to Dreams. He has also been featured on many mainstream platforms. This has been trending on TikTok since the end of September and DogFace recreates it with his friends and family. This went viral as his good vibes are needed for the current situation the world is in right now. It lightened everyone’s mood and brought back an iconic song for the older generation.

DogFace after all of this is very grateful for what has happened to him. His video has brought many smiles to anyone that has watched any of his content. DogFace continues to provide TikTok with good vibes and has many future plans, for example releasing some merchandise of his own. The merch is an image of him drinking cranberry juice. He also has released multiple videos thanking everyone for all the blessings that he’s been receiving. DogFace also plans to collaborate with other brands. He has already collaborated with many companies filming commercials for gas stations. Dogface continues to provide content for the world to showcase his good vibes and continues to bring revenue to OceanSpray and Fleetwood Mac and many other companies. But most importantly he brought people together after all the hard times everyone has been going through since the pandemic.

Mispronouncing Names (Opinion)

By: Joshua Song

Valencia High School is an incredibly diverse school with students from all backgrounds and nationalities. As a result of this, many students and even some of the teachers that attend this school have foreign names that are often mispronounced by others. Being in a state near the Mexico-America border, those of Latin American origin with Spanish names tend to face these issues a fair amount less than other races, such as Asians or even some of those from non-English speaking European countries. In every single class, there seems to be at least one person whose name the teacher or their peers can never seem to get quite right, eventually leading the student to give up and live with a mispronounced version of their name, a truncated version, or at times replacing that name entirely with a more Western-sounding name. Although such acts are common practice as of now, there are strong reasons why everyone should work to use the proper names of the people around them.

Names are something that are incredibly personal. They connect one person to their family, their culture, and to who they are. By not using their own name, it creates a disconnect between the students’ personal and school identities. Using their name would not only be respectful to the students themselves, but to their families as well. Calling someone by their name is the most basic way to catch their attention and refer to them. If a teacher refuses to put in the bare minimum for learning who their students are, it is quite difficult for a healthy personal connection between the student and the teacher to form over time. If a friend, for instance, refused to learn your name, how would a personal connection form over time?

If a teacher constantly mispronounces the names of their students, it may also be a source of embarrassment and confusion for the student, which not only negatively affects the emotional and mental state of the student, but potentially their grades and performance. The popular comedy skit by the comedy duo Key & Peele named “Substitute Teacher” demonstrates this quite well. Although aspects of the skit are very exaggerated, the overall confusion and embarrassment shown by the students in the video are quite on point. It is fairly common – especially at the beginning of the year – for teachers to mispronounce the name of multiple students in their classroom and a nervous laughter to spread throughout that classroom. In that moment, it is quite difficult for the the “victim” in that situation to feel fully comfortable in the classroom, despite it being almost inevitable that it will happen, most likely in every class, every year. However, if a teacher continually mispronounces the names of students, this will inevitably lead to the relationship between the student and teacher to drift apart. 

Now this isn’t to say that the teachers are the ones at fault. In a society where so many different nationalities and languages come together and in a country that speaks such a phonetically ambiguous language, it is no surprise that there will be mispronunciations of names, even among English names. In addition to this linguistic barrier, the lack of awareness of certain cultures and their names also leads to this. As mentioned before, Spanish names tend to be properly pronounced here in California because of the great amount of exposure that Californians get to the Spanish language and those who speak it natively. However, in more foreign languages, such as Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.) or certain European languages (Polish, Russian, Italian, etc. ) people tend to completely mispronounce those names. By increasing exposure to these cultures, society could have a better understanding of these foreign cultures and names. 

At the end of the day, everyone should work their best to properly pronounce the names of the people around them, while not being afraid to ask questions about how to pronounce certain names and not resorting to methods that either diminish or ignore the value and meaning of the original name without the consent of the name holder. A name symbolizes more than just a title to be called by in class, it is usually the individual’s identity itself.

Five Female Changemakers in STEM

By: Vivian Wang

When elementary school students are told to draw an image of a scientist in school, most students draw a photo of an old man with frizzy hair wearing a white lab coat. In reality, the underdogs of STEM manifest in the women in the STEM community that have made several scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical breakthroughs over the past century. 

Known for exploring the universe beyond the sky, Katherine Johnson was a prominent NASA Space Scientist who conducted extensive research in mathematics, astronomy, and physics. According to, Johnson was one of the first three African American students to have earned a Ph.D. in mathematics while studying at West Virginia University. Throughout her lifetime, Johnson co-authored over 25 research papers and was also a core member of NASA’s Friendship 7 Mission in 1962. In the Friendship 7 Mission, Johnson was responsible for corroborating the orbital equations that the communications network used to track the machine’s trajectory. With Johnson’s accuracy in her mathematical equations, the Friendship 7 Mission was a success. Throughout her lifetime, Katherine has been recognized by several STEM organizations such as the International Women’s Day movement as a prominent mathematician who changed the world all while overcoming society’s expectations of women in STEM.

As another proponent of women in STEM, Radia Perlman represents the face of gender equality in technology through her discoveries and development of algorithms. Perlman was a student at MIT who created the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and TRILL. Today, the internet relies heavily on Perlman’s development of STP and TRILL. Beyond working extensively on personal research and development of computer algorithms, Perlman also emphasized the importance of community outreach and accessibility of education as she developed a coding language easy enough that young students could learn.

Similarly, Susan Kare is also another notable graphic designer who focused on graphical user interface (GUI), especially for Apple. Today, Kare is most well-known for her design of the Apple’s earliest icons such as Apple’s earliest logo design, the trash can icon, and the formatting paintbrush commonly seen in word processors. Although the creation of icons and graphics in the 1980s was still a fairly new concept, Kare paved the way for future graphic designers, as most evidently seen in today’s graphics on smartphones and laptops such as emojis or animated graphics. Throughout her lifetime, Kare has collaborated with companies including Microsoft, Intel, and IBM.

Another notable woman in the world of STEM, Elizabeth Blackburn focused on cell biology and biomedical research. Blackburn earned her bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Melbourne and later on in 2009, she received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Her greatest contribution to today’s science revolves around her discovery of telomerase, a type of enzyme that aids with preventing cell death during cell replication. Today, high school biology students study the process of cell division and replication, with Blackburn’s discoveries as the foundation for students’ knowledge of telomerase in cell biology.

Grace Hopper approached STEM from a different angle, specifically dedicating her career towards advancing the development of computer languages. During her lifetime, Hopper received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in 1934. As explained by Yale University’s news site, Hopper wanted to aid the United States around the time of World War II. With expectation biases placed on her, Hopper was looked down upon due to her small figure and weight of 105 pounds. Regardless of society’s biases, Hopper still enlisted in the war and worked with her colleagues to invent a computer compiler. Hopper’s development of compilers has influenced today’s computer compilers that translate human-coded language into machine language for the computer to understand. Hopper’s legacy lives on to this day through the Grace Hopper Conference, a conference that female college students participate in annually to network with like-minded women in computing.

Looking towards the future, female changemakers will continue to evolve and improve STEM, all while creating an inclusive community. The future is female — it just begins with exploration and discovery.