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Gabriel Guardado

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Gabriel Guardado

Resident assistants at the University of Nebraska at Omaha help students transition from living at home to living with three roommates on campus.

“An RAs job is to let students know what kind of opportunities there are on campus to help them create a home away from home environment,” said sophomore Scott Campus RA Cami Larson.

Trying to maintain good health, a social life and a high GPA can be very overwhelming, but RAs help create a positive environment for both learning and living.

Igor Volk, an international student at UNO, said he believes that coming in with an open mind can make a difference.

“Everyone comes from different states, different cities, different environmental and cultural backgrounds, so you need to keep in mind that not everyone is the same way as you are,” Volk said. “I believe the key component is staying as open-minded as possible when trying to put yourself into new environments.”

Durango Days gives residents the opportunity to get involved and meet new people. Durango Days, UNO’s official welcome week, kicks off during the move in days of both Scott and Dodge
campuses and leads into the first week of the school year.

“The best way to meet new people and getting involved the first few weeks of college would be going to the Durango Days events,” Volk said. “They have a lot of activities throughout the Scott and main campuses, so grab your roommates and go.”

Larson recommended going to the housing events put on by the RAs each month.

“On Scott Campus, we hold three events for our residents each month,” Larson said. “One is planned by your building’s RA and the other two are cluster events where all buildings join for an event. I would recommend going to the floor events or the cluster events put on by the RAs.”

During the first few days of moving in, the UNO residence halls in both Scott and Dodge will be hectic as students move into their new homes.

“Make sure to bring the essential items like clothing and bathroom items,” Larson said. “I would also recommend bringing a couple things from home that are personal that you can connect to home. That way it’s not a complete shock to be in a new place.”

Getting everything ready can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be, Larson explained. A great way to create a list of dorm essentials is looking through online sources on college shopping.

“Shop for essentials slowly,” Volk said. “Don’t try to rush it immediately. Create a list of the most essential things you need that you need for the first few weeks. Also, it’d be a good idea to buy some foods and snacks for a few days so you can get comfortable.”

The move-in days are Aug. 13-19, depending on the residence hall. RAs at Scott and Dodge campuses are ready to help students adjust to college life.

“This is a really fun new experience that not a lot of people get to have. I expect a lot of late nights and planning,” Larson said. “The RAs will try to make it as smooth of a transition as possible. Expect move-in day to be really busy, but with excitement in the air.”

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Photo Courtesy of pinterest.com
Photo Courtesy of pinterest.com

Gabriel Guardado

In December of 1955, 20-year-old UNO student Carolyn Nevins was murdered outside of what is now Arts and Sciences Hall. The murderer was never found. To this day, many wonder if the spirit of Nevins still haunts the building.

Cases like Nevins’ murder are what sparked the creation of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s paranormal society.

“We first started out with the UNO UFO study group, and then we began working on the different paranormal aspects in that group,” Kyle Finley, president of the paranormal society, said. “We ran into the ghost hunting group on campus, MAPS, the Metro Area Paranormal Society.”

MAPS originally came to study the cold case of Nevins. Finley said the paranormal society kicked off investigations of its own on the Nevins case with the help of faculty advisor David Pares.

“It was an ongoing investigation, and students have compiled data,” Pares said. “We also contacted former relatives of Nevins but we have not yet come to the conclusion of the paranormal activity.”

Pares said the paranormal investigative process involves collecting and analyzing data. Safety is a top priority.

“When we go out to investigate, we have a policy to protect the group of students investigating,” Pares said.“In some areas, you have to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. During some of our investigations, we’ve had hair pulling and backpacks being pulled.”

The Paranormal Society focuses on the scientific side of the paranormal world. The group meets up on Saturdays at noon in the Durham Science Center to talk about the paranormal world. But that’s not all they discuss. Other topics include sociology, religious studies, philosophy, physics and chemistry.

“We’re a scientific group who looks into the paranormal realm. We always have a skeptical mind
when looking at this kind of stuff,” Finley said. Earlier this month, the paranormal society hosted its annual Paranormal Summit. During the summit, the society shared its investigative techniques with paranormal community groups and held a ghost hunt on campus after the event.

The paranormal societies’ latest investigation involves a haunted car known as Elvira. Elvira is a 1970 Cadillac, in which many claim there has been a record 496 deaths in the vehicle. The paranormal society plans to investigate the haunted car in hopes of finding new research and data to prove skeptics wrong.

“People can laugh at the paranormal, but we collect data and do scientific research on these topics,” Pares said. As for their original case on Nevins, the Paranormal Society has been able to gather data, photo evidence and most importantly EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) on the still ongoing case. Whether or not the investigation will one day come to a close, Carolyn Nevins may still be walking the halls of the Arts and Science Hall.

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Gabriel Guardado

Whether it be to a small group or large audience, the fear of speaking in public is relatively common among students.

This semester, the UNO Speech Center is offering free workshops for students and faculty on a variety of topics, including overcoming speech anxiety and winning the crowd.

Speech Center consultants Marlina Davidson and Herbie Thompson are there to assist students during these one hour workshops.

“We are providing some topical workshops to help with speech making skills and delivery making skills,” Herbie Thompson said. “We’ll have our next workshop in October which is about PowerPoint development. Topics discussed will be visual aids and how to have success with visuals as well as developing slides.”

In November the Speech Center will host a seminar on how to win over the crowd during a presentation, right in time before big presentations are due for finals.

Topics discussed will include delivery and how the presenter can engage the audience and keep them interested during big presentations.

Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu
Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu

The workshops are not just available to students. Faculty and staff are more than welcome to attend one of these workshops as well.

“It’s open to all majors,” Thompson said. “Anyone that has an interest is more than welcome to join.”

One of the participants from Wednesday’s workshop is Yulia Dergal, a grant accountant at the Epply Administration Building.

Being a non-native English speaker, Dergal found the tips Thompson and Davidson offered throughout the seminar very useful.

“Anxiety is something that gets in the way when experiencing difficulties in developing and delivering the message in a speech,” Dergal said. “All the information we received was extremely useful and a good amount was provided.”

With the first workshop on defeating speech anxiety completed, students and faculty walked away with the knowledge needed to combat speech anxiety during presentations.

They also learned about the different personality dimensions as well as how each dimension causes public speaking anxiety. A matching treatment for each dimension was identified.

Speech anxiety will always be a problem for many, but with practice and helpful tips from the Speech Center, the problem can lessen.

“We highly suggest developing speaking experience,” Thompson said. “The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you feel.”

All students will have speaking experience with public speaking classes set as a graduation requirement.

“That’s why the Speech Center is such a wonderful resource. If students want to practice and develop a new skill, we’re here to help with that.”

During the workshops, students, faculty and staff have the chance to participate and discuss the topics that are taught during that session.

Every person who attends a workshop receives a session packet tailored for their specific needs in the area where they are struggling or hope to improve.

By the end of the session, the participants are asked to fill out an evaluation and feedback sheet about that day’s session. Many students who attend the workshops find it very helpful, especially with public speaking.

“It has been an excellent experience. I loved our instructor’s enthusiasm, supportive and motivating environment, group interaction and of course pizza,” Dergal said.

The Speech Center will host two more workshops: Oct. 26 about creating the best PowerPoints and the last on Nov. 30 on steps to deliver success. Workshops will take place in the Arts and Science building in room 183 from 12 to 1 p.m.

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Gabriel Guardado

Ever wanted to study abroad in a different country? This may be the perfect opportunity to do so, as UNO hosted its biannual Study Abroad Fair in the Milo Bail Student Center Plaza.

Faculty, staff, alumni, third-party providers as well as UNO students set up in the MBSC Plaza to answer any questions about studying abroad.

With over 1,000 options to choose from, the possibilities are endless as UNO teams up with third-party providers to help students make the transition to a new country and culture.

One of the many third-party providers is API Study Abroad. Regional Director Jason Kouba has helped many students from UNO study abroad.

“Studying abroad gives students different opportunities to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to do,” Kouba said. “Experiencing different cultures, working with different people, visiting different places [and] studying abroad gives students a whole new meaning on life.”

Many UNO students have taken advantage of programs like API and made the leap to study in a different country.

Moustafa Aladawi, a senior majoring in electronic engineering,had the opportunity to study abroad in Dubai this year.

“It was a great experience,” says Aladawi. “You learn about the traditional and modern culture of the country. Also, you’re going to meet new people and talk to different people from all over the world, especially in Dubai, where I went to study.”

Aladawi recalls studying abroad as one of the best experiences in his life.

Students can choose to use financial aid as well as scholarships offered by the third party-provider or the office of UNO Education Abroad.

API has several requirements for students looking to study abroad.

“The requirements will vary a little bit based on programs, but there is usually a GPA requirement, there is sometimes a class standing, usually sophomore standing or above, but there are many programs open to freshmen as well,” Kouba said.

Other requirements may include language requirements; for instance, if the student is planning on studying abroad in a non-English speaking location.

This past semester, UNO and third-party providers have sent students all over the globe to study.

“This past spring, we had a student from UNO who went to study in Florence, Italy,” Kouba said. “We’ve had many students in the past go to many different locations around the world including Chile, Peru, Dubai, Europe and Argentina.”

The experiences and friendships students make while studying abroad is like no other.

Students have the chance to meet people from all over the world who are sharing the same experience. UNO has many options for students wanting to study abroad.

UNO gives students the chance to study at partner universities across the globe with the UNO Exchange Program. The tuition costs are the same as if the student was studying at UNO.

The UNO Faculty-Led Program gives students the chance to experience culture with the professors and faculty they interact with while on campus. Special curriculums and courses are created while exploring and studying in the country.With deadlines for the spring semester coming up Oct. 1, the next date for the upcoming year begins in February.

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Photo Courtesy of thegaurdian.com
Photo Courtesy of thegaurdian.com

Gabriel Guardado

After years of research, astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet named Proxima b, making it the closest exoplanet to our solar system.

Proxima Centauri is the closest star to planet Earth, and has been the main focus for astronomers in the past week after Proxima b was discovered. Because Proxima b is within the habitable zone, this could mean a new possible home for human life outside of planet Earth. This leads to the question: Can humans one day inhabit this new found planet?

Before everyone starts packing their luggage and venture out to Proxima b, there are several factors that can put the trip on hold.

Proxima b has a rocky surface, and according to Space. com, it’s at least as massive as planet Earth¬ if not more so. But one question remains to be answered: Does Proxima b have an atmosphere?

Like many astronomers questioning this subject, University of Nebraska at Omaha astronomy professor Dr. Vincent Woolf is not sure if this question can be answered at the moment.

“We don’t know even if it has an atmosphere; we can’t say we don’t know if it doesn’t,” Woolf said. “We don’t know what the atmosphere is made of, nobody knows yet.”

Because of this unanswered question, researchers don’t know if liquid water is able to exist on Proxima b. The planet’s surface temperature is also unanswered because it depends on an atmosphere. It’s still uncertain at the moment, but may be very likely.

For humans to one-day walk on Proxima b, one will have to wait a while for this to happen. It may take decades, if not another century before exploration is made to Proxima b.

Proxima b may be the closest exoplanet orbiting the star at four light years away, but is farther away than most people think, according to Woolf.

“The fastest aircraft we’ve built was 10 thousandth the speed of light,” Woolf said. “This (Proxima b) is 4.25 light years away. It’ll take a big change in technology in order for exploration to occur. It may be in the next 50 years, and that’s being optimistic, we may never develop that.”

Proxima b is about 4.25 light years away according to CNN. To put it in perspective, that is 266,000 times the distance between planet Earth and the sun. Both are 92.96 miles apart from each other. It may be the closest terrestrial planet near our solar system, but it’s still far from home.

Whether or not humans will one day get there, Proxima b brings excitement to astronomers and the whole world alike. Will Proxima b be habitable in the coming decades? Who knows for sure, but there is something out there to cause wonder. Like astronomers all over the world, Woolf knows there is something out there outside our solar system.

“It’s interesting; it’s fascinating. The idea that there is an Earth like planet around this star close to us,” Woolf said. “I believe it, I don’t know it yet, and that’s the way science should work. You don’t know it til a lot of people have had the chance to look at it and test it, but it looks pretty good.”