Is Sitting the New Smoking?

I am sure you have heard the saying “Sitting is the New Smoking”. But is it really the new smoking, and if so, why? The phrase was coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative—but is he just saying this to sell more of the treadmill desks he invented or is there science behind it? And yes, he did invent a treadmill desk…

I remember when I was about 10 and would spend hours on Saturday mornings watching cartoons and my mom would tell my sisters and me that if we didn’t get up and move, we would get “secretarial spread”. No one wanted a wide derriere from sitting too much. (And yes, it was the 1970s so saying that was perfectly acceptable.) Little did I know that equating health concerns to inactivity was actually a thing.


The New Evolution of Man…perfect for the 21st Century

Dr. Levine, the aforementioned inventor of the treadmill desk, points to real health problems caused by too much sitting and not enough moving. He says, “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Yikes, Doc!


Is anyone else saying this besides Dr. Treadmill? As it turns out, yes. In 2015, Canadian researchers looked at 47 studies that highlighted the health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. In a nutshell, the participants who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes—even those who were regular exercisers. The results were even worse for people who did little or no exercise. Commenting on the research, Dr. Joanne Foody, Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston says, “While we often think of the dangers of inactivity in terms of worsening cardiovascular health, there are a myriad of negative effects”. The Canadian study noted higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. Another study has linked inactivity with an increased risk of developing dementia. (It’s sounding more futile as I continue writing this…who picked this downer of a topic anyway?)


What not to do, Homer…

What to do, what to do. I have thought about this a lot, especially on Tuesdays when I am basically sitting in class from 10 am to 5 pm. And from the looks of this information, the non-stop running around I do on my clinical days does not counteract the long-term sitting. Dr. Levine does have some tips besides a treadmill desk (which I am sure I’m not coordinated enough to try…):

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk—or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.

And my own suggestions:

  • Do stretches with your classmates on breaks.
  • If you are someone who learns by writing, stand and write at a whiteboard instead of sitting down and writing on paper. There are study rooms with white boards that can be reserved at The Priddy Library.
  • Stand in the back of the lecture room during class for a few minutes every so often.

So, let’s look on the bright side and try to incorporate a little more standing, a bit more moving, and a lot more stretching. Who is game in joining me to take a “stand”? I just came up with that…clever, right?


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Everyone is Welcomed

There are two reasons why I attend events- knowledge building and networking. Yesterday, I noticed the postings on The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Facebook page for the International Night event and immediately thought “I MUST ATTEND THIS EVENT” as it satisfies my reasons for attending. In case you missed all the postings on Facebook or the flyers posted on campus, I felt it was my duty to inform you of this event.

Happening today, Thursday 8th March from 6 pm to 9 pm in the Conference Center at USG, building 2, MPR. Open to everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone from students, faculty, staff and community to prospective students. Everyone is welcomed! And best of all, it is absolutely FREE.  Check out the poster below for more details.

International night 2018

I’m an avid learner, always seeking to expand my knowledge. And ever since I was younger, I developed an inclination to networking. I did it a lot, most times to the disapproval of my mother as like most mothers of children in third world countries plagued with poverty and crime, she was hesitant to have me out of her sight. So, when I learned about this event where I would get to basically travel the world in one day, get to taste international food and enjoy entertainment, I knew attending would be a must.

Through this event I would get to expand my knowledge by learning about different cultures and this would be a great networking opportunity, no doubt. Guests enjoy a variety of delicious foods from around the world prepared by students. Afterward, they are entertained by a dazzling Fashion Show in which students model a variety of traditional outfits. During the Talent Show, students share outstanding musical and dance performances representing diverse cultures from around the world.

I strongly encourage you to attend and hope to see you there. Check out photos from last year’s International Night here.

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Today is the Day!

It’s March 7th everyone! It’s the middle of the week which means we’re closer to Friday so join me in pushing through the rest of the week. I know many of you may be studying for exams or turning in projects before spring break rolls around but if you’re able to make it out to the Skilled for Success: Building an Entrepreneurial Mindset, I suggest you do!

Like I mentioned in my last post, there will be a panel of entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and outlook on how higher education benefits the entrepreneurial mind. Here is the list of panelists:

  • Peter Ettinger, Senior Advisor, Aldebaran Partners, Inc.
  • Shahab Kaviani, Social Entrepreneur; Co-Founder, Breezio; Founder, Launch Academy; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Startup Maryland
  • Kelly Leonard, Co-Founder & CEO, Taylor-Leonard Corporation
  • Tien Wong, CEO, Entrepreneur Angel, Opus8, Tech 2000, Lore Systems, and CONNECTpreneur

With all the hustle and bustle of schoolwork, I have no doubt in my mind that this event will help you with your future goals throughout your college career and after it.

I’ll be there and I hope to see some of you readers there too!






Prospective Students


Building II, Multipurpose Room


Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

 As always, ‘til next time! 🙂

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What makes a good leader?


In today’s professional world, you may find yourself in a leadership position. Whether it’s working on a group project or managing a company, you may be expected to take charge.

That brings us to the topic of the day – what makes a good leader?

First, let’s define what makes a leader:

According to Daniel Goleman, a well-known psychologist who lectures to business and professional groups, a leader is someone who has a high degree of emotional intelligence.


“Emotional intelligence” is defined as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”  (Unknown, “Emotional Intelligence”)

Emotional intelligence has five components, as defined in “What makes a leader?” by Daniel Goleman.

  1. Self Awareness – being able to recognize your moods and emotions, and its effect on others
  2. Self Regulation – being able to think before acting or speaking
  3. Motivation – having passion to work on something, with reasons beyond money or status
  4. Empathy – having the ability to understand the emotions of others, and being able to treat them accordingly
  5. Social Skill – being proficient in building relationships and networking, and finding common ground

A leader is someone who possesses the qualities stated above. When you master the skills, that’s when you become a good leader.


Obviously, these skills take time to master. But the more you work on them, the better you are at being a leader. Fortunately, there are several ways to become a leader and sharpen your leadership skills here at USG:

  1. Join a Student Club or Organization – by joining a club or organization, you can learn from your peers about leading a group of people. When the time comes, you may even step up to replace the president once they’ve graduated.
  2. Start a Student Club or Organization – if there isn’t a club you aren’t interested in joining, why not start a new one? You can be the president. You will learn how to handle a group of people to accomplish certain goals or tasks.
  3. Become a Student Ambassador – Ambassadors interact with students in high school and community college. They educate prospective students about USG, and also give tours. During orientation, the Student Ambassadors give tours to the incoming students. Becoming an Ambassador is a way to share your experience at USG to prospective students, and learn how to become a good leader along the way.
  4. Become an Orientation Leader – Orientation Leaders are responsible for greeting incoming students during orientation. They engage with the new students, share their experiences at USG and lead their group to their workshops. As an Orientation Leader, I really learned a lot about how to present myself to new people, and engage with them.
  5. Join the USG Student Council – every Spring semester, the council seeks new members to join the team. The Student Council oversees everything regarding Student Life. Their job is to make sure the students are happy with things at USG. They are the people to go to about concerns or questions you may have, so they can direct them to the people in charge. By joining the council, you can learn how things operate behind the scenes, speak on behalf of your fellow classmates, and gain leadership skills you might not already have, or sharpen the ones you do have.

These are just a few ways you can become more of a leader here at USG. If you are a leader, or want to become one, these are a few ways to sharpen your leadership skills.

Any questions about any of the leadership opportunities?

For questions about Student Ambassadors, contact the Center for Recruitment and Transfer Access.

For questions about student clubs, student council or orientation leaders, contact the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources.


Works Cited

Unknown. “Emotional Intelligence.” Psychology Today, Psychology Today,

Goleman, Daniel, and Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. “What Makes a Leader?” Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Review, 18 July 2017,

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International Night: Celebrating YOU at USG on 3/8

Everyone is connected to an ethnic culture or heritage or family tradition in one way or another. In our current political climate, it has become somewhat challenging for some to freely show their roots, and do so proudly.

I, for one, have always been excited about my ethnic diversity. My mother is from Ecuador and my father is from Iran. I have been lucky enough to connect with both cultures through music, cuisine, holidays, and language. There are a lot of unspoken norms in each community, which has been interesting for me to observe and be a part of. I would go as far as to say that my exposure to cultural diversity has given me the interpersonal skills and emotional IQ that I use on a daily basis.

USG is taking a proactive step to celebrate our diversity as a community. Whether we appreciate it or not, our hometowns are full of people with different beliefs, traditions, customs – all of the above. This is the direction our world is moving toward – an ever increasing community of diverse people!

Join your classmates, friends, and family for a night of celebration! You will be able to taste international food, watch live entertainment, win prizes, and also maybe learn a few dance moves along the way!

What? International Night at USG

Where? Building II, Multipurpose room (USG)

When? Thursday, March 8 from 6pm-9pm

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A Journey of a Thousand Study Sessions

If you are a student at the Universities at Shady Grove, then chances are that you are an Undergraduate student. After all, the majority of the students at USG are undergraduates with plans to move up in the world afterwards. However, how many of you know that USG offers graduate programs right here on campus? I didn’t when I first arrived to USG, but trust me it’s true!

As a Student Ambassador at USG, I have learned a lot about the school, including what kind of programs are offered here. While many of us are content with focusing on completing their present degree, it is important to plan out the future before it catches up to us. Professional school is on the horizon for many of us. Law school, medical school, physician assistant school, business school, or even physical therapy school. There exists many options out there for all. However, in life things happen. So while some of us may want to go to professional school, it may be worth our while to pause and take a look at our options.

I’m writing primarily about STEM pathways, but these basic principles apply to everyone.

Talking about my case specifically, med school is on my radar. While I would love to go to medical school immediately after completing my B.S., it pays to be prepared. Witnessing the trials and tribulations of my fellow scribes, I’ve seen two stark examples of life at play. One of my fellow scribes decided to start on his Master’s immediately after completing his B.S.,the reason? He wanted to prepare for medical school and increase his chances of getting in. Another friend took a gap year, and then another, and then other. Having applied and been declined, my friend has taken 3 gap years, and has only job experience to show for it. No degree.

Learning from their experiences, I believe it is best to have back-up plans in case things do not go smoothly. If professional school is something you want to do, then simultaneously apply to a master’s program in that field in case you don’t get it. This way, you can continue your education and not break your stride. You’ll prepare yourself for the future and learn something doing it.

I implore you to research and learn more about what kind of pathways exists out there. You’ll learn a lot by simplifying talking to others, by attending events and fairs, and by asking your professors career questions. USG is the perfect place to find out where you want to go and what you want to do with your time. Thanks for reading and remember that the SAS suite offers everything you’ll need to plan, achieve, and succeed.

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Design is easy with 3D Modeling in Adobe Dimension!

Have you ever heard of Adobe Dimension CC? Have you ever wanted to try 3D modeling? Dimension is a 3D design software using photorealistic technology that allows you to build product mockups, test environment backgrounds, and test out different light settings. It’s an easy program to learn, so if you are interested in design or 3D software, give it a try! Or if you are starting your own business and want to build a mockup of your product! 

  1. I first started by making a logo in Photoshop, that will later be placed onto my product package.


  1. When you open Dimension, the program will run you through a quick tutorial of all of the buttons and features. The toolbar on the left has multiple tools to see the scale, rotation, move tool, and more. Play around with those!Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 9.53.05 AM.png


  1. In the Design palette you are able to pick a 3D shape that you will then manipulate on the stage. They have various packaging options like a pouch, jar, coffee cup, boxes, and even different marketing strategies like bus stops and billboards! For this example, I picked the food pouch and began changing the overall color to a beige/tan, simulating a recycled feel and texture. You can also use the color palette to pick RGB or hex colors that already match your logo colors. 


  1. I then placed in my logo from Photoshop and centered the logo on the bag. You are able to rotate the logo and place other images or objects on the 3D model. This is a great way to visualize what your product will look like before actually having it manufactured.Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 10.52.25 AM.png 
  2. Since this program is geared towards creating product mockups, you are also able to view your product in different settings and backgrounds. Like a studio, coffee shop, or where you might see your product be used in the future. I chose a white background with a wooden desk. I wanted this to match my hypothetical marketing message, for this “modern hipster” tea. I also played around with the different light settings, and I settled on a studio lighting preset. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 10.55.19 AM

  1. Once you are done and ready to view your final mockup, go up to the left and click “Render”. This will export your 3D model to Photoshop to further edit, or save as a PNG to your Documents. This can then be implemented into a presentation pitch or sent directly to your boss at work.


Boom! You’re done! This 3D modeling mockup took me about 30 minutes to make. I would highly recommend trying out Dimension if you are thinking of producing and marketing a product. Thank you for tuning into Pt. 5 of my series using Adobe software!

Learn more here about Adobe Dimension CC.

*Adobe Creative Cloud can be downloaded for free for University of Maryland students through TerpWare. UMCP students also have free access to tutorials!*

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Unveiling One of my Biggest Secrets!

If I have not discussed it before, I will say it now. Aside from being a Student Blogger at USG. I also work for the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources (CSEF). It is a great office with amazing staff! When I first started, I was not sure how well I was going to do, or how well I was going to fit in. However, here I am, almost 7 months in. And I love it! The job brings me closer to campus. I am always up to date on the events and other things going on at USG (especially where free food is involved.)

So, when I first started, they asked me to make a sandwich board. If you don’t know what those are, they are those foldable chalkboards usually located in the lobbies of the different buildings. I guess I did such a great job that they continued to ask… and ask… and ask. Every Monday and Friday, I was almost guaranteed to walk around looking like a chalky mess.

Earlier this month, when one of the staff members left, she specifically told everyone in the office that I was going to be left in charge of making sandwich boards and chalking. So I got an email that gave me my duties for this new job.

What’s the big secret you ask? Well, that’s just it! You are reading the blog post of the artist behind the most recent sandwich boards and sidewalk chalk! Many people don’t realize it until I point it out. However, it feels good to know I am doing a good job whenever people do know it’s me.

Attached below are different photos of the ones I remember to catch pictures of.

As always, thank you for reading! And may you enjoy the rest of your week!


Sandwich board promoting Welcome Week



Board to promote screening of Hidden Figures


Sidewalk Chalk for #Powerof9 campaign


Board to promote Screening of Skin Deep. Definitely, something to check out today!


Board promoting Fry-nancial Aid















Board promoting Black History Month Celebration  


Sidewalk Chalk for some more events

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Film, Diversity and Culture


The Universities at Shady Grove are holding an event hosted by the Diversity and Culture Committee to promote attention and discussion about a film named “Skin Deep.” The film follows a group of diverse college students from the University of Massachusetts, Texas A&M, Chico State and U.C. Berkley as they participate in a challenging racial awareness workshop. On this workshop forum, they confront each other’s personal mindsets and opinions about ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity. The film serves to shine a spotlight on the surprisingly illuminating and real experience as the students uncomfortably but honestly confront each other’s racial prejudices.

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Frances Reid’s film brings attention to a very important conversation. There are many opinions about ethnicity in the United States that are not being discussed. These exchanges serve to illuminate some misconceptions and clarify some realities that exist in our culture. An open talk about race and diversity can teach others how to discuss their opinions in a calm, collected and intelligent manner.

The Universities at Shady Grove believes that an open forum where students can voice their opinions is important. That is why there will be a screening of “Skin Deep” on Thursday, March 1st from 5:00-7:00pm in the Crockett Theater. There will be a discussion that follows with a personal experiential component. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage your community in a thoughtful and uplifting way.

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Cultural Tea Time


Since I was younger, I have always I loved learning about other cultures through their traditions and foods. I believe that this interest originated from my own culture where food played an essential role in entertaining and making connections with other people. I learned to love cooking from my mother, who used food as a way to show her affections towards others. Today, I use cooking as a way for me to express myself and as a relaxing activity. I love learning about other ways that could help me relax because as a graduate student with a busy life, making sure that I have a calm mind helps me perform my duties well. 

Recently, I discovered my interest in drinking tea and learning about the different types teas as well as their origin. I was thrilled to learn that the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources (CSEF) started their monthly Cultural Tea Time event because they are providing an opportunity for students and staff to take a break from their busy schedule and drink tea while learning about country and their culture. I attended the first two that they had this semester. I really enjoyed attending because I gained some new knowledge about Tea time in the UK (December) and someone’s immigration story from South Africa (January). The speakers were great and I look forward to their future events. I highly recommend attending one of the monthly Cultural Tea Time. Below I provided the schedule for the rest of the Spring semester in case you would like to join us.

Cultural Tea Time Schedule

Monday, February 19, 2018 – 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 – 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Monday, April 16, 2018 – 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 – 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Why Drink Tea?

Many people enjoy drinking soda, however, I realized that drinking tea is a healthier alternative. I wanted to be able to drink delicious beverages and not feel unhealthy so I tried drinking tea. Because I am not a morning person, I needed something to wake me up. I learned that instead of drinking much coffee for the caffeine (I cannot drink it without lots of sugar and cream), I can drink either green or black tea with raw honey or agave sugar instead. I still get the same effect, but with less sugar in my system.

Prepacked Tea or Loose Leaf?

I personally prefer loose leaf tea than the powered prepacked ones because I feel that they taste better and I can appreciate the delicate taste of the tea. I also discovered that the procedure of preparing tea is very relaxing especially at the end of the day. 

A friend of mine introduced me to David’s Tea, a store with a huge selection of loose leaf teas and matcha (ground green tea). I highly recommend checking out this store. They let you smell the different teas that they offer and they will even teach you how to prepare certain teas 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading about CSEF’s Cultural Tea time and encourage you to try tea. If you are looking for any recommendations, please feel free to comment to this post.

Fun Fact: My fiance, who LOVES COFFEE, has learn to dial down on his in take of coffee. He learned to love drinking chamomile tea at night because it helps him focus. It is has become our little nightly tradition to drink tea together while we tell each other about our days 🙂

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