Professor Aims to Increase Participation


A new Oklahoma State professor is trying to increase participation by making class more interactive with new methods.

Amanda Baraldi, 34, teaches in the Psychology Department at OSU.  When she started teaching this past fall, she noticed she had a hard time getting students to interact with her in the classroom. She said no one wanted to speak up when she asked a question.

“Then I started doing finger signs during my lecture,” Baraldi said. “I would ask multiple choice learning check questions and I’d say, ‘What’s the answer?’ Maybe so often I can get someone to say ‘A’ real quietly, but then no one was responding. So, then I started doing, one for ‘A’, two for ‘B’, three for ‘C’ and four for ‘D’. I can get most of the class to put their fingers up.”

Baraldi said she thinks the biggest challenge facing students today are failing school systems, overprotective parents and engagement. She said she has noticed getting her students to engage in conversations in class and have them answer questions is not only a big challenge for her students but for her as a teacher as well.  She said she likes to start every class with a YouTube video to get the students comfortable in the environment before she begins lecturing. She said she has a hard time knowing if they understand the material she covers in class because it is rare for her to get a verbal answer. To help know her students understand her lectures she said she has them give her thumbs up or down if they understand.

Misty Hawkins, a coworker of Baraldi, is also a new professor to OSU. She said she met Baraldi when they both moved to Stillwater this summer.

“Dr. Baraldi is the first person I’ve met who is so passionate about statistics that she can make the subject fun and practical for her students,” Hawkins said. “She is a generous and excellent teacher, and I encourage students who are afraid of statistics to take her classes!”

Baraldi grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. As a high school student, Baraldi said she was in an organization called, Key Club. She said this club was a community service organization and she said it helped get her out of her comfort zone. She said she was the district treasurer and later she said she became the New England district secretary. She said this position helped her have the confidence to become a teacher.

“It taught me a lot,” Baraldi said. “I made amazing life-long friends. I learned all sorts of amazing life-long skills.”

She received her bachelor’s degree in science from University of Massachusetts in Amherst, a master’s degree in arts at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York and she received her doctorate at Arizona State University. She has chosen Oklahoma State University to start her career as a teacher and researcher.

She said she was in financial service after she received her undergraduate, but wanted to make a bigger impact on people’s lives. Baraldi said she is easygoing, gregarious and funny. She said these traits help her be the teacher and researcher she is today.

John Dexter, a student in her quantitative methods class, said she is a good teacher and energetic.

“She makes all the concepts easier to understand and really simplifies what otherwise would be really hard catty material,” Dexter said.

Baraldi said she would love to be still teaching and researching in the next five years. She said she loves teaching because she likes helping and interacting with her students and preparing them for the real world. She said she likes to feel like she is contributing. She said she wishes preparation and teaching didn’t take as much time as it does, and she said she doesn’t think the students realize how much work it takes outside the classroom. She said she thinks the qualities for an excellent teacher is someone who presents things in a clear and understandable way and is willing to explain as many ways as needed to reach students. She also said in order to be considered an excellent teacher, they have to be compassionate toward their students and be willing to meet and speak with them outside of the classroom.

She said she had job offers from Umass Lowell in Massachusetts and OSU, but she said she chose OSU because it seemed like a fit for her. She said moving from New York to Oklahoma was a big change for her. She said she loves the theater, and she said she finds it difficult to find a good place to watch shows. In her free time, Baraldi said she loves to explore Oklahoma. She said she loves the size of OSU and loves how nice and polite the students are. She said everyone she has met so far are all open, warm and welcoming to her. She said she loves how beautiful the campus is.

“It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen,” Baraldi said. “It is very well done. All the buildings maintain the same style. That’s kind of rare on a campus, usually there are just a hodge-podge of buildings.”

A Feature on Off-Campus Smoking Spots

The steps on University Circle and the “Marlboro tree” by the Student Union parking garage have one thing in common: that they have become popular social spot for smokers.


The “Marlboro tree” shading a two OSU workers on their smoke break. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

“Marlboro tree” was littered with a pound and a half of cigarette butts and cigarette cartridges. 

All of the cigarette butts and trash picked up from around Marlboro Tree.

The pound and a half of cigarette butts and trash picked up from around “Marlboro tree.” (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

Many of the university’s employees were not open for interviews because they were afraid that they were going to get in trouble if it had gotten back to their boss. The fear of getting in trouble for doing something completely legal and off campus caused many people to hide behind the tree away from facing the university’s campus.

Karri Freeman and Belle Smith both work at the Student Union at Baja Fresh and they were open to being interviewed. They said they both have been smoking cigarettes for nearly 30 years. They said they enjoy having their smoke breaks to break free from the sometimes, overwhelming Student Union. They said their smoke breaks are 15 minutes long.

Smith feels that if the university were to offer a closer place for employees to smoke it would enhance productivity. Smith and Freeman said that they have to spend most of their 15-minute break just to go to the tree to smoke, and many employees go over on their break time because they can’t make it back in time.

The worn-out path to

The worn-out path to “Marlboro tree” at the corner of S. Ramsey St. & W. University Ave. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

“It sucks coming out in the rain and snow to smoke,” Smith said when asked how she felt about having to go off campus to smoke. “I work hard for my money and I should be able to spend it how I like.”

Smith said she spends her hard earned money on cigarettes, but she hardly gets enough time to smoke them because she has to travel so far on her breaks to smoke them.

“I feel like a second class citizen,” Freeman said when she was asked about having to go off campus to smoke.

“Marlboro tree” use to have a sign posted on it that read, “No Smoking.” The lot next to the smoking spot use to be owned by a Nazarene Chapel. When OSU bought the lot, the portion beside the road became public property and the sign was taken down.

The nails still left in Marlboro tree from the old

The nails still left in “Marlboro tree” from the old “No Smoking” sign. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

Twenty-year-old, Abraham Basurto, a foreign exchange student from Mexico City said that he has smoked cigarettes for a year, and he visits the smoking spot on University Circle three or four times a week with his friends to socialize and to smoke his cigarettes.

Abraham Basurto at the smoking spot on University Circle with cigarette liter at his feet.

Abraham Basurto at the smoking spot on University Circle with cigarette litter at his feet. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

When Basurto was asked about how he felt about the university making him go off campus to smoke and how OSU’s smoking policies differentiated from his college campus in Mexico City he said that they both had good policies, but he liked OSU’s better. He said that in Mexico City they had assigned smoking areas on campus.

“I think that what they are doing about no smoking on campus is great,” Basurto said. “It’s not healthy for the people who don’t smoke to be breathing all of the smoke.”

Basurto said it was frustrating to come to the smoking spot and to see the trash piled at his feet.

“It’s very dirty,” Basurto said. “People don’t really care about this spot. So, it’s awful to come here and look at all of the trash when they can go to the trash can and put all their stuff in there.”

The smoking step on University Circle littered with cigarette butts, bottles and cigarette cartreges.

The smoking step on University Circle littered with cigarette butts, bottles and cigarette cartridges. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

Jacob Ketring, a 20-year-old, has smoked cigarettes for seven years. He said that he smokes cigarettes because it gives him something to rely on to make him feel better. He said that walking off campus to smoke sucks for him but he respects the rule for everyone’s well-being.

“Walk off campus,” Ketring said. “Smoking is dirty and people who don’t smoke shouldn’t have to deal with the odor and health risks. Maybe walking will benefit you and will show you the negative impacts it may have on your body.”

Yizhe Peng, a foreign exchange student from China said he walks all the way from the residence hall, Iba to University Circle to smoke his cigarettes. He said that he is actually trying to quit smoking because it is a lot cleaner for the environment. He said that since he was raised in a traditional Chinese home when he comes to the littered smoking spot he is disgusted and uncomfortable. Peng said that he thinks that it is disrespectful to leave your trash there when there are trash cans all over campus.

“It is very annoying to come here and see all of this trash,” Peng said.

Yizhe Peng smoking his vapor cigarette on University Circle.

Yizhe Peng smoking his vapor cigarette on University Circle. (Photo credit: Kainyn Childress)

ExxonMobil Trends

ExxonMobil is a major integrated oil and gas industry. Since Nov. 30, 1999, when ExxonMobil was founded the business’ marketing trends and sales have ultimately increased over the years. ExxonMobil offers businesses and people different types of fuels, chemicals and lubricants. The trends of ExxonMobil vary. Some factors that affect the trend are the supply and demand for the industry’s product, the economic conditions, weather, technological advances, the increase or decrease in the production, natural disasters, wars, inflation and competitor’s operations.


        The natural gas and power marketplace has many competitors. ExxonMobil’s largest competitors are Royal Dutch Shell, BP P.L.C and Chevron Corporation. Currently, Chevron is on top of the stock value at $77.37. ExxonMobil comes in at second place with the stock value of $72.62. While these two companies take a wide lead, the other two companies aren’t too far behind. Royal Dutch Shell, at third place, is at a stock market value of $49.57. BPP P.L.C. comes in at fourth place at a stock market value of $31.14. ExxonMobil has 51 percent of shares held by institutional & mutual fund owners, 51 percent of floats held by institutional & mutual fund owners, and ExxonMobil has 1996 institutions holding shares. The biggest sustained drop over a period of a few months there was one large drop from middle of 2014 through the end of 2014. ExxonMobil had a calculated drop of about 24 percent. The biggest one was this most recent stock market crash, which happened in August, but the actual drop occurred from July 2015  to present of about 26 percent in stock price. The largest drop for the company was in April 2015. It lost 36 percent of revenue, but this didn’t cause ExxonMobil to give up the fight. It wasn’t the only company to lose revenue either that month. Several other large companies including Royal Dutch Shell and BP also suffered a loss. While Chevron has the higher stock value, Exxon has more than twice as many shares available right now, meaning that if you multiplied the stock price by the number of stocks ExxonMobil has the larger market cap value, or basically company worth.

        The top five major direct shareholders are Tillerson Rex W. with $2.2 million in shares according the report on Dec. 29, 2014. Pryor Stephen D. with $1 million in shares according to the report on Dec. 12, 2014. Dolan Michael James with $777,311 in shares according the report on Mar. 13, 2015. Swinger Andrew P. with $680,437 in shares according the report on Nov. 25, 2014. Albers Mark W. with $632,039 in shares according the report on Aug. 5, 2015.

        According to TD Ameritrade,  47.58 percent of ExxonMobil is held by institutional shareholders. The top three institutional shareholders according to the June 2015 report are The Vanguard Group, Inc. at 254,198,890 in shares in ExxonMobil with an estimated value of $21 million. State Street Corporation is at 178,655,658 in shares at an estimated value of $14 million. Thirdly, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. is at 110,114,272 shares at an estimated value of $9 million..

        ExxonMobil has products for businesses and consumers around the world. We feel that the primary audience of the company is the business that uses its product for resale. We feel the secondary audience is the ExxonMobil gas stations and stores, and lastly, We feel that automobile stores are their tertiary audience. ExxonMobil is a large business in the stock market because it targets so many different audiences.

        There are recent articles on offshore energy boosts for the U.S. economy, national fracking and the pace of energy transitions. The posts all focus on the changes in consumption of energy resources that ExxonMobil offers. This tactic of ExxonMobil news is a smart move for the company. The articles help ease the minds of the world while the company is gaining attention. The articles also inform the United States of important economic growth that will come from ExxonMobil’s production and consumption of natural resources.

        According to Google Trends, ExxonMobil is the company that is searched the least in the energy, oil and gas companies. This is very interesting considering that the company has the second highest stock market value. This trend shows could show that ExxonMobil must have a poor marketing branch on the internet. ExxonMobil is searched less than oil and gas itself. However, with such a strong stock market is is reasonable to think ExxonMobil is so scarcely searched is because it’s investors feel so safe in what they have invested in Exxon that they don’t have to check or trade shares very often.  The top stock market holder, Royal Dutch Shell is searched over twice as much as both oil and gas and ExxonMobil.

        ExxonMobil is considered one of the most admired companies. The company has had a few spills that had tarnished its reputation, but ultimately it handles its’ crises very well. ExxonMobil is trying to communicate that its diversity and inclusion of thought, skill, knowledge and culture make it more competitive. They are more resilient and better able to navigate the complex and constant changing global energy business.

Properties of Sound and Music

What is sound and what is music? You can have one without the other, but one cannot stand alone. Sounds have been around longer than music, but I imagine it didn’t take long for music to come into play. The properties of sound are tone color, pitch, dynamics and some might argue that even duration is a part of sound.

Treble Clef (Photo via Flickr by Zupao)

Treble Clef (Photo via Flickr by Zupao)

I begin to wonder how music came into this world. No doubt, it was hundreds of years ago and it started with just the sounds our mouths make. Now, however, it is everywhere. It fuels the world. Without realizing it we are constantly thinking of music and sounds. Why, just sitting here the sounds of pencils tapping and the steady sound of paper being turned gives this room a musical hum. The pitch of someone’s sniffling nose and cough almost gives a beat or a tempo. Sure, it is just sounds, but if you have time to enjoy the rhythm and tone of the room you will hear music.

Dynamics comes into play as the door is slammed shut. In fact, it is almost a crescendo. The gathering of bags and putting desks up begins the slow rush to the loudest sound in the room of the door closing. The sighs of students around me give the timbre a sort of mellow anticipation type of feel.

So, sound is not always music, but music is always sound and you can always hear it if you simply listen.

Straight Outta Compton

As I walked into the chilly movie theater in Oklahoma City this weekend with my boyfriend, I had no idea what I was about to watch. He had been so excited about seeing this movie that honestly, I hadn’t given much thought. In fact, I was kind of… well, almost dreading this movie. Now don’t get me wrong, I love rappers and I love their art, but a movie about them made me have mixed emotions. I had no idea that this movie was going to blow me away like the way it did.

F. Gary Gray, the director of the film Straight Outta Compton used amazing techniques when directing this film. Some might argue that it is what made the movie such a success. Without the proper camera shots and sequences, this film could have been considered low quality and trashy. Gray did the exact opposite with his directing. I believe that Gray wanted to let viewers feel like they were actually living the life people in Compton have.

Straight Outta Compton movie ad. (Photo via Flikr by The MovieSpace)

Straight Outta Compton movie ad. (Photo via Flikr by The MovieSpace)

Nope, I have never been to Compton or any place like it, but this film showed the roughness, truth, heart and soul of a place like that. On top of that, I highly doubt any of the artists would have let the director direct anything but the truth about their story. Now while I do believe there were certain tweaks to scenes, just like every film, I think Gray really stuck with what the men went through.

If you like music, you will enjoy this motion picture. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of rap music, you will still enjoy watching the process these artists had to go through. It shows Ice Cube sitting on a school bus writing lyrics to a song when he was still in high school and now look at him. He is appearing on ESPN to talk about sports and crack jokes. Honestly, I had no clue their lives had been so rough. That’s what really makes this movie so intriguing. You watch these men grow apart and grow together all at the same time.

Let’s not forget about the actors!! Casting did not settle on a single actor in the film. When you look at those actors, it is easy to know who is supposed to betray who by just looking at them. It’s not all about looks, though. These actors put their heart into making this movie. I even cried in this rugged film. You know the acting is good when I start crying!

All together this is a great film for adults.. even if you don’t even like movies!! So, grab a lover, a friend or a complete stranger and watch this life changing film.

“OK, Google, Why Can’t We Live Without You?”

You start wondering if the color orange was named after the fruit or if the fruit was named after the color. It’s simple everyday thoughts like that that lead us to learn, and what do we use to learn? Google. Google is the world’s most used search engine. I mean, I use it every single day. It’s hard for today’s generation to imagine having to go to the local library and read books just to learn simple information. Our society today is all about getting what you want when you want it with minimal effort. Now, I know that when I word it like that it seems terrible. Honestly, it’s just how we are. So, we go to Google when we want or need something. Google even has a site where you can find animals, actors, athletes and many more topics that are trending at any moment from people just searching for information using Google. Yeah, crazy!

Google's Trademark (Photo via Flickr by warrantedarrest)

Google’s Trademark (Photo via Flickr by warrantedarrest)

Google has almost anything you can think of. Do you feel sick? You could Google what you have even though I wouldn’t suggest that as a serious diagnosis. Google isn’t just a noun anymore. It’s a verb. I’m sure you’ve been told to, “Google it!”

Google is there for us when we have those awkward questions. We all know we’ve Googled some pretty interesting questions.

I even took the liberty of looking up what was the weirdest thing someone has Googled and I came across this site. Take a gander. 

So, Google! Learn as much information as fast as you can so when people think back on our generation they know that we used all of our resources and that we aren’t just lazy as some older people say we are.

Food Industry vs. The Costumers

After the school year let out, I knew I was ready to get a job, and I was hoping for something that would better prepare me for my future career. Now, at first I started out applying at any type of public relations firm that was in or around Tulsa, Oklahoma. After all of those firms denied me a job because my window of time for employment was too small, I went on to apply to radio stations. I had a station even tell me that I would have a permanent job there the next day if that was what I was looking for.  After being denied jobs at car dealerships, I applied to call centers and veterinary clinics, but even they didn’t want to hire me because I only had one month I could work.

So, my search ended up being a Carhop from Sonic. I started out with the job excited and actually enjoying my time there learning the “Sonic Way” inside of the building, but little did I know that the real problems I was going to face were all outside. The speed of Sonic is fast. There are usually two people taking out food to 28 different locations. You have to run and get the food out as soon as possible because you are more likely to get tips, and you sure do need those tips. I bet you didn’t know that Sonic Carhops make $3.63 an hour and the entire rest of the pay has to come from complete strangers who honestly were more than often rude, hateful and thoughtless. Now, I’m not saying that you should tip big or make a big deal about it or anything. Honestly, I constantly had customers that would feel bad about giving $1 tips in a mixture of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I simply told them that I live off of change and smile really big when I walked away. On average, I was making $20 from tips a night and only around half of it was in paper money. But my point isn’t the money.

I have worked as a radio disc jockey, a TV station as a director, and Oklahoma State University’s intramural sports, but Sonic taught me the most about the real world and the people in it. People are rude about food. I would say that everyday about someone who would pull on the lot of Sonic stalls.  Yeah, you might be thinking about why in the world would you be rude to someone who is preparing the food that fuels your body. Sonic employees would never do such a thing to costumers’ food, but I can all agree we remember those employees from a pizza place that were recorded messing with the pizza.

When problems really started for me was when the weather really warmed up. I was the only Carhop taking care of lunch rush hour when near the a woman made me absolutely hate my job, or actually, made me really dislike people. That was the day that the air conditioner in the building quit working and the inside would be roughly 15 degrees hotter than outside. Keep in mind that outside’s average temperature was in the upper 80’s.

So, back to the story about the worst day I’ve had in years. I brought a woman’s food out and read off the items on the ticket and handed her the large bag of food as she asked if her child’s meal was in the bag. I replied that everything that was on the ticket was in the bag with a smile on my face.  {One day, a coworker said to me, “I wish I knew who the rude people were so I wouldn’t waste my niceness on them. That really resonated with me later on when I am cried my eyes out for 15 minutes.} She practically threw the food back and raised her voice saying that it wasn’t in there. I told her that I was so sorry and that I would run the food back in and make sure everything that was on the ticket that she paid for was in the bag.


After examining the bag and the items in it I found that everything was accounted for. I took the women’s food back out and told her that everything that was on the ticket was in the bag and that if she wanted to order more she could just push the red button. At this point she lost her cool and screamed at me as I apologized and walked hastily back with tears in my eyes into the confines of the burning rooms of Sonic. With out thinking I answered the head set that the lady ringed in on. She began talking poorly at me about me. She had no idea that she was talking to the woman who just took their food to them. She proceeded to call me rude and a mixture of other hateful things when I lost my cool. I was walking around yelling for my manager to take this off my hands, but she was no where around. For a moment longer I listened to her cried/yelled to her, “That girl you’re talking about is 19 years old and started a week is me.” I threw the headset off and began to shake with sobs.

I grew up in a small town, everyone was nice to each other. I had never been called rude or hateful names. The food industry is a different world. The general public is rude when it comes to food. But why? I really want to know. When I worked there I was told that the costumers are always right no matter what. Now, while that is fine and dandy since it is their money, they should get what they pay for, but why are most people rude and hateful when they don’t get what they want? This blog isn’t to gain sympathy or anything of that sort. It’s just an eye opener for people. I wouldn’t trade my time at Sonic for anything just because I really did learn a lot about people.

So, I challenge you, think about the people who serve you. Be kind. Be thoughtful. That boy or girl who is serving you is someones baby.

This entry was posted on July 5, 2015. 1 Comment

Point A to Point B

I don’t think we realize how important cars are to us. Yes, clearly we need them to get us and things from point A to point B, but has any else noticed that car commercials have gotten a lot more, well, touching? Several commercials include family and pets. I began to think that these commercials are right on point with today’s lifestyle. We spend a lot of our lives in our vehicles with our friends and our families, more than I think we actually realize. Our cars are the places where we learn not only how to drive, but be nice to complete strangers on the road. We learn from our mistakes on the road when we get in a wreck. Some realize that their cars are their own little private stage for concerts to themselves. (Kind of like me)

Old car (photo via Flicker by Collargoll)

Old car (photo via Flicker by Collargoll)

We all need our cars, and I don’t think any of us would want to give up our cars. Our cars get us from our youthful point A to our more wise point B in life.

Today I was in line to get gas in my car and a man in front of me gave me $10 to add to the $8.20 I gathered from the loose change in my car. This act of kindness from a complete stranger is just a showing of how much people love people and how much we know the importance of our cars.

This entry was posted on June 4, 2015. 1 Comment

Be Sure

Heart of Gold (Photo via Flickr/ Cryodigital - Sadly deceased)

Heart of Gold (Photo via Flickr/ Cryodigital – Sadly deceased)

Love gives us a reason to feel important, whether it be loving someone or being loved, but I believe having both in your life makes for the best life. When you find people that are willing to put your happiness before their own and you’re willing to do the same for them the reward is unmeasurable.

Now, with that being said, people can hurt you. Love is dangerous if you don’t realize how powerful it is.

With love, you put every inch of yourself into the relationship. Care deep and swift, but let love develop with trust. Trust is a big key in every relationship. Without trust, you are left with questions. The type of questions that can tear down any relationship.

Don’t just love someone because you want them or yourself to feel important. You’ll slowly realize that it’s just not love. It’s, well, a pure desire for companionship.

I have always believed that you should be sure and confident with your feelings. If you’re not then you get hurt. So, be sure. Love slow, but love deep.

This entry was posted on May 28, 2015. 1 Comment


I’ve always been the sentimental type of girl. Yeah, I cry at the movies, I dream with fairytale endings and I always hope for a happy ending to every relationship I’ve ever been in. Now, I’m not just talking about relationships with the guys I date, but with friends and family members. I can’t count how many friendships that I’ve had that have ended. Some ended smoothly and some so rough that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Well, the fact of the matter is, we grow out of people. We just grow up in general. I’m not saying that the friendships I’ve had that have failed were a waste of my time or anything close to that. In fact, I adore every relationship I’ve ever been in. Those relationships helped mold me into the person I am today. I’m not saying you grow out of all the relationships you gain. Some relationships last you for the rest of your life.

Friends (photo via Flicker by Oape)

Friends (photo via Flicker by Oape)

My freshman college roommate and I grew up together in a small town. She was the first friend I had that stayed the night with me in elementary school. It was fitting for us to make all the big leaps together. College was the biggest step I had ever taken, and honestly I know that I couldn’t have done it without her there. She saw me at my worst and my best and loved me anyway. I’d come home crying about some silly boy, and she was always there to comfort me. I know that relationship will always be there. I’ll always have her. Some relationships are unexpected. Usually those ones that sneak up on you are the best you’ve ever been in.

My best friend was the last thing I had expected. While I was so upset about some other personal issues (ex-boyfriend problems) he was there to comfort me. Possibly because we were both damaged, and it just felt nice to know that we weren’t the only ones feeling so miserable. Soon enough we realized that we were, well, perfect for each other.

Those ex-boyfriend problems that led me to my best friend also led me to a whole group of guys that are very dear to my heart. One of the guys would eat lunch with me every single day and listen to my problems, and boy, did I have a lot of them.

So, be open to change. Be open to the people that you really never expect. They might become the people that mean the most to you.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2015. 1 Comment