Find my most recent articles here!

When I started this website in college, I intended to use it as a hub for all my published work. Over the past few months, I’ve realized it’s a bit more difficult than I thought to keep the website updated — especially since I work for a daily newspaper and write multiple stories per day!

With that said, please find my most recent published articles (Yes, every article!) on my new online portfolio on Muck Rack. Visit this link to check it out!

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I will now be using this website ( for my best written work. I will continue updating this site regularly, but only with what I believe best represents my writing and journalism skills.



Model United Nations wins awards in New York City

Sonoma State STAR: Model United Nations wins awards in New York City

A group of Sonoma State University students travelled to New York City last week for the National Model United Nations Conference, a program where students from across the globe participate in a series of hands-on simulations of the UN tackling world issues ranging from terrorism to human rights. By the end of the conference, this year’s Model UN delegation from Sonoma State took home two awards, marking the 12th award the university has won in the last six years.

“Given that Sonoma State’s delegation consists each year of almost an entirely new group of students, our success in the face of this kind of international competition is remarkable, and I’m extremely proud of us,” said the program’s Faculty Adviser Cynthia Boaz.

Sonoma State’s delegation won an Outstanding Delegate Award and Honorable Mention Award, continuing the program’s long-standing history of success at the university.

The group of 22 students in this year’s delegation came from a range of majors, each bringing a unique skillset to the program. Representing the nation of Ireland, each student was assigned a committee in the United Nations and within that committee, had to portray their nation in solving world issues.

During the trip, students were also able to see the United Nations headquarters, something that Model UN Club President Valeria Quintana sees as the highlight of the trip.

“I aspire to work for the UN in the future, so being able to be at that location was a blessing and an honor,” said Quintana.

Sonoma State’s delegation began preparing for last week’s conference in January, and in a matter of two months, students became experts on how the UN operates and the role of Ireland on the world stage.

The conference draws students from all across the world — some of whom have spent the past year preparing, making the competition aspect of the conference a bit daunting.

“We had the best experience possible,” said Quintana. “Even though we only had two months to prepare, I believe Sonoma State was up there in the ranks with the schools that had years to prepare.”

Edward Goquingco, senior political science major and one of the program’s head delegates, is proud of the relationships that were built during the trip and believes the true benefit of Model UN can be seen in the friendships that were developed between the delegates.

“Everyone did great. I am proud of the relationships and camaraderie we shared [during the trip],” said Goquingco. “Being friends with [the delegation] is more important to me than being head delegate.”

Model UN is both a political science class and club at Sonoma State, though Boaz believes students of any major can benefit from participating and can bring a diverse viewpoint to the program.

During the conference, students spoke numerous times in front of audiences on how they believe an issue should be solved from the stance of the nation they’re representing — making public speaking and persuasion skills essential to a delegation’s success.

“I have seen several students who were too shy to speak up in classes when they joined Model UN, and by the time they finished the program, they were some of the most confident and outspoken students in their courses,” said Boaz. “Students build skills in writing, researching, analysis and more. But perhaps the most important thing all MUN students gain is a boost in their self-confidence as scholars and citizens.”

In the last few years, Sonoma State has represented nations like Cuba, Venezuela and Nigeria — some of which presented controversy because of world events at the time. The choice to represent Ireland wasone influenced by Boaz, who spent the fall semester on sabbatical in the nation. Having Boaz’ knowledge from living in Ireland for a period of time, proved to be beneficial to the delegation. Students were able to gain insight on the politics and culture of Ireland and were able to more accurately portray that nation at the conference — something every university aims to do.

Model United Nations is a program offered in the spring semester of every academic year and those interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact Boaz at

Kayla E. Galloway is a member of this year’s Model United Nations Program.

Editorial: The serious shortage of student representation

Sonoma State STAR Editorial: The serious shortage of student of representation

Sonoma State University has seen its share of changes and improvements over the years, with the addition of the Student Center, International Hall and most recently, LoboVision —  which proved to be a center of controversy for many students.

Decisions on college campuses are often made behind closed doors by administrators who lack the insight students have when it comes to what a college campus needs. Representation and transparency are two words often heard together when discussing the politics of higher education — and for good reason.

Earlier in the spring semester, many students questioned who makes the decisions to bring something like LoboVision to campus and why it was necessary. Or in other words, who is at the forefront of making decisions that affect students’ education?

Do students truly have a say in what happens at Sonoma State or are they at the mercy of administrators when it comes to changes to campus?

Sonoma State is made of multiple committees intended to make the decisions that affect students. Those committees include the Student Center Board of Advisers, the Campus Reengineering Committee and the Campus Planning Committee. All of these committees have student representatives who play a role in decision makings. In hindsight, having a few select students chosen to sit on these decision-making boards seems like an effective way to represent the voice of the student body.

But can a small number of students truly reflect the needs and wants of a student population of more than 9,000? Probably not. And how can campus and academic life be improved with such a small number of student representatives?

The caveat with the university’s process of including such few students on these boards is that these students are expected to talk to their fellow students about what’s going on around campus.

In recent years, Sonoma State students have expressed discontent with many of the changes implemented, including the Green Music Center and the financial implications on the university, the Student Center and even the reserved parking lot next to the Student Center. In our view, a minimal effort was made to reach out to students in regard to these changes.

It’s understandable to ask all students be included in the decisions being made on the campus — but from the other side of the spectrum, do students at Sonoma State actually care about the campus and the decisions being made? Are students simply apathetic to the issues that surround Sonoma State?

College students are often quick to voice anger or discontent when it comes to things that affect their lives and education. But when given the opportunity to change things at their university, do students back down and shy away from being a part of the decision-making process or would students actually step up and bring change to their campus?

When it comes to LoboVision, many students became aware of its existence the day it was installed on to the wall of the Recreation Center.

Though this change to campus may seem small, students would still like to be included in the discussion before things like LoboVision come to campus.

Transparency and representation are the keys to a united campus and the STAR asks administrators to consult more students — if not the entire campus — before decisions that affect students are made. It’s also important to remember that the student body is constantly changing.

If a decision is made in one year for a change on campus, two years later, when it’s finally implemented, roughly half the student body may have no idea what is going on.

With so many students unaware of things going on at Sonoma State, it’s imperative students’ voices be represented andstudents be kept informed.

We hope things can become more transparent with the new university president alongside our new Associated Students president.

Editorial: The clown trumping the polls

Sonoma State STAR: The clown trumping the polls

Americans are captivated by Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency, and not because he’s the best candidate.

Outlandish proclamations, empty promises and disrespectful quotes toward women, minorities and nearly all Americans whom he disagrees with have earned him his popularity. He is proving that any publicity is good publicity.

Trump has been a frequent headline-maker in the media in recent months and the subject of too many social media conversations. As November nears, Americans are beginning to realize Donald Trump’s campaign isn’t a joke after all.

He is delegitimizing American politics one crazy comment or tweet at a time and is ultimatelyembarrassing the United States on an international level. He’s continuously emphasized his plan to make America great again, but who’s to say America isn’t already great?

His entire political platform relies on the idea that Americans are desperate and in need of a savior to return the nation to prosperity, and he suggests he’s exactly that.

This year’s presidential election is strikingly similar to the political shift seen in Europe nearly a century ago, when nations like Germany were desperate for a change in leadership. Leaders preyed on citizens’ vulnerabilities and lack of faith in past political systems to gain popularity.

The majority of Trump’s campaign relies on the ideas that he will make America great, fix everythingwrong and that he is the best candidate in the race. His claims and promises are unsubstantiated, and he has yet to explain actual solutions to the problems the U.S. faces today and, with that, is playing the American people for fools.

Last week, former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney made headlines for calling Trump a phony and a fraud who is playing citizens for suckers.

Romney is exactly right. Trump fired back by recalling that Romney asked Trump for his support in his 2012 campaign. This is an example of how the Republican Party is falling apart. Trump is in this election solely for himself and to promote his own agenda.

Not too many years ago, Americans were captivated by the widely known Occupy Wall Street movement — a movement which criticized the top 1 percent of the richest citizens in the nation and fought to change the issue of income inequality. Americans seemed to have forgotten the value of the Occupy movement and who itcriticized, exactly.

Trump is the 1 percent. He is one of the richest people in the nation and does little for the lower-to middle-class in the U.S. What is even more baffling is how Americans have latched onto his empty promises, having faith in his worthless claims.

Looking at Trump’s campaign for the presidency from a different perspective, how does his campaign influence America’s appearance to the rest of the world? An island in Canada has already offered refuge to Americans if and when Trump becomes president. Ironically enough, Google announced that after Super Tuesday last week, searches for “How to move to Canada” hit an all-time high.

Trump is making a farce of America and undermining the power of democracy. America is supposed to be the most powerful country in the world, and though that’s still true, Trump is making it hard to maintain that reputation.

Americans who see through his campaign are scared for the future of the nation. Some have even compared Trump to Hitler — a comparison that initially seems hard to imagine, but it’s a situation that is frighteningly foreseeable.

Trump is merely a businessman and a reality TV star. Since when did America’s richest citizens and reality TV hosts become viable candidates for president?

If being rich and famous are the new qualifications for becoming president, Americans are better off with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West taking over the White House.

Young people hold a significant amount of power in the upcoming presidential elections and, hopefully, they will understand it’snot enough to deem Trump as an unacceptable candidate for president.

It’s even more important to register to vote by May 23 and visit the polls in June to denounce hate-driven politics.

Low graduation rate prompts new legislation

Sonoma State STAR: Low graduation rate prompts new legislation

Nineteen percent of first-time freshmen in the California State University graduate within four years — a1456950583233 statistic that’s prompted state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) to propose legislation to increase the current graduation rate.

The bill, proposed last week, would offer students financial and academic incentives for agreeing to take a minimum of 15 units a semester, allowing students to graduate in four years — something few CSU students achieve based on current data.

Glazer, a former CSU trustee and strategist for Gov. Jerry Brown, is an alum of the CSU and was an advocate for students as part of the California State Student Association during his time at San Diego State University.

“The 19 percent four year graduation rate is really upsetting. As freshmen in high school, we’re told it only takes four years to get a college degree,” said Sonoma State University Associated Students Senator for Sustainability Claudia Sisomphou. “I think our generation is the first to face the dilemma of having to pay for extra years of college.”

If the proposed legislation is adopted, CSU students, who agree to take 15 units or more, would be eligible for priority registration — which would ideally help students enroll in the required classes needed to graduate, leading to graduation after four years.

In recent years, Sonoma State students have become all too familiar with the struggle of registration and class availability.

“I think the fact that students get wait-listed and the lack of available class [is what makes it difficult to graduate in four years],” said Stephanie Fuentes, a junior political science major. “It’s not that students don’t want to take classes, it’s the availability.”

The CSU graduation rate of 19 percent is substantially lower than the national average of 34 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Meeting in the middle, the four -year graduation rate at Sonoma State is 29 percent, according to College Board data from 2012.

Elizabeth Chapin, interim public affairs director for the CSU, said part of the reason students in the CSU take longer than four years to graduate is because many of them are required to take remedial level classes in their freshman year.

“Students entering the CSU fully prepared for college-level coursework graduate in shorter periods of time,” said Chapin. “But a large number of students entering the CSU are not prepared for college-level coursework.”

With Glazer’s bill, students who agree to take the minimum unit load and maintain a specific GPA would be relieved of the burden of registration with priority.

In addition to priority registration, students could also be eligible for tuition waivers, or refunds for required classes that weren’t offered during their first four years at the university as well as more academic advising, according to the bill.

“I think it’s great [legislators] are coming up with incentives, but personally, I try to take as many units as I can, however I am still facing the dilemma of [graduating] in five years,” said Sisomphou.

Chapin said the CSU hasn’t taken a position on the bill and the CSU hasyet to draft a cost analysis in regard to the bill.

“The California State University shares Senator Glazer’s goal of helping students earn their degree in a timely manner,” said Chapin. “Currently, we are analyzing the bill and we look forward to working with him.”

Glazer’s bill is similar to programs used at four CSU campuses — a program intended to raise graduation rates through student incentives. The Finish in Four program at CSU Fullerton, implemented in 2010, has some of the same goals as Glazer’s bill to help students graduate in a four-year span with the help of academic advising and educators committed to student success.

Glazer’s bill remains under review in the California Senate, though Glazer says he is confident in his proposed program and that it can succeed with little funding, he told the Los Angeles Times.

“I don’t think the bill is realistic,” said Fuentes. “If you can’t get funding for the school itself, how can you get funding for this bill?”

Editorial: LoboVision exemplifies lack of vision

Sonoma State STAR: LoboVision exemplifies lack of vision

Sonoma State University’s Seawolf Plaza has been illuminated by the bright light of the newly-installed LoboVision, intended to make students more aware of events on campus.  Installed only two weeks ago, LoboVision has already become a topic of controversy among students — and for good reason.

Many agree Sonoma State students have a certain level of disinterest or unawareness when it comes to campus events and involvement — but can that lack of awareness truly be fixed by a nearly 300-square-foot television screen broadcasting advertisements every waking moment? In a matter of days after LoboVision came to life, students took to social media to express their frustrations with the giant television screen. They questioned how the university has enough money to pay for a giant TV screen but can’t afford to provide enough classes for students to graduate in four years. The Campus Rec Center made clear on its website the money “cannot be used for classes, faculty salary or other purposes not related to capital improvements.” However, this isn’t the only issue.

In a world where young people are surrounded by digital screens at every moment of the day, whether a cell phone, computer,  iPad or television, the last thing Sonoma State students need is another screen – especially one this size. The idea of LoboVision — the inspiration behind it — makes sense. Students don’t know what’s going on and don’t get involved — and the bulletin boards around campus just aren’t cutting it when it comes to making students more aware. What is hard to understand is the rationale behind LoboVision itself. Who came up with this idea and why did someone believe students would actually be happy about a giant screen that costs more than 62 times of one student’s tuition fees at Sonoma State?

According to university officials, the cost of LoboVision was $340,000 and was funded through a capital improvement fund only for repairs, improvements or renovations at the Student Center or Recreation Center. Putting the cost of LoboVision into perspective, with $340,000, a student could buy approximately 10 cars, nearly 18 years worth of rent in an average-priced apartment in Sonoma County or travel around the world extensively. Instead of cars, an apartment and a long, lavish vacation, students are getting a giant TV screen that is nearly the size of a small studio apartment at 300-square-feet.

Putting the cost aside, students have to believe LoboVision was created with good intentions — at least one can hope. Was LoboVision created with students’ interests in mind or was it simply another attempt to make Sonoma State look like the flashiest, most luxurious university on the block? In terms of luxury, Sonoma State is by no means stingy. In this millennium alone, Sonoma State has transformed into a nearly unrecognizable campus.

LoboVision is up and running and is most likely here to stay, whether students like it or not. But we wonder whether LoboVision is another example of the university providing something students asked for or giving something that administrators felt the university needed — something one can only hope will change with the new university president in the fall.

Editorial: The perpetual burden of student debt

Sonoma State STAR: The perpetual burden of student debt

Hard work and dedication used to be all one needed to succeed in the world of higher education.

Nowadays, college is becoming increasingly inaccessible—is this sign of the times or something changing within American culture that doesn’t support the academic pursuits of young people? Tuition costs in the California State University have more than doubled since 2005, an obvious indication that college is becoming less accessible to students in California.

Education is a basic right all young people should have access to no matter one’s socioeconomic status or family background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the current generation of college students.

The cost of higher education is eliminating people who may not have the needed financial resources to attend college, which is reflective of the changing world of higher education.

The California State University is considered one of the most affordable educational systems in the U.S. But is college in California really affordable when the cost of attendance—no matter how affordable—prevents so many people from attending?

According to the Wall Street Journal, student debt in the U.S. has more than tripled in the last decade with the number most recently surpassing $1.2 trillion nationwide.

In August, Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton spoke out on the concept of debt-free tuition at public universities—something that is unimaginable to many current college students.

Clinton’s plan would cost an estimated $350 million over the next 10 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As students at a public university in California, graduating college with thousands of dollars of debt is inexcusable.

College is supposed to be a time when students can expand their minds and focus solely on learning. Students shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay tuition or rent—which is all too common for college students of this generation.

The stress of money and finances is a reality for the average student at Sonoma State University—a stress that sometimes overtakes lives and makes one forget about why they’re in college. The tuition cost of attending Sonoma State in 2005, a mere decade ago, was $2,520 and for this academic year the cost is $5,472, a clear example of the rising costs of college throughout the year.

Tuition is not the only price of attending Sonoma State. In addition to basic tuition, students pay an extra $929 categorized as campus-based fees, a number that varies at each CSU campus.

It’s easy to simply talk about why college should be cheaper and more accessible, but is it realistic to picture a world where college is attainable no matter one’s financial state? Maybe not—but it can’t hurt to encourage lawmakers and university leaders to make a change when it comes to the cost of higher education.

The world of higher education is flawed in terms of cost, but does a high cost increase the value of a college degree in terms of its worth?

The answer is yes, but the degree’s value still doesn’t make up for the fact that some students’ may spend the rest of their lives in debt.