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Kristin James

Kristin James

I am a 24-year-old journalism student at the University of Central Florida graduating in Spring 2019.

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A driven, passionate journalist dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless.

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Sabrina Perez

I am a digital journalism major and Latin American studies minor at the University of Central Florida, graduating …

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Hello everyone! I’m a senior undergraduate at the University of Central Florida pursuing my BA in print/digital journalism …

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Okelo Pena

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Latest Articles

Where there's a will, there's a sleigh: 'Winter Wonderland' debuts, preserves holiday spirit

Attendees line up to participate in holiday attractions at the "Winter Wonderland" event Wednesday night. SG Vice President Austin Wilson said "Winter Wonderland" was created as a replacement for Light Up UCF, which is usually held annually from November to January in front of the Addition Financial Arena. Juan Pablo López
By Juan Lopez
• NSM.today

Where there's a will, there's a sleigh: 'Winter Wonderland' debuts, preserves holiday spirit

Students gather at Memory Mall on Wednesday night at the "Winter Wonderland" event to kick off the holiday season with snow and hot chocolate. The event was created by Student Government, the UCF Campus Activities Board and Late Knights. Juan Pablo López
By Juan Lopez
• NSM.today

A steady drumbeat: student juggles performing arts and photonics

Nolan Vild said when he auditioned for a drumline to fulfill his dream of becoming a drummer, he was assigned a marimba instead, and it made him question if music was his passion after all. “Man, this kinda sucks," Vild said. "I wanted to play drum set. That’s my dream, you know?” A lifelong drummer from New York, Vild moved to Florida in 2015. But because the UCF photonic science and engineering senior moved during the summer, he said he missed his middle school drumline auditions. Desperate
By Riley Sheppard
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Prescription drug drop-off event shows community impact

UCF Student Health Services saw an approximately 92% decrease in medications collected for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, compared to the same event held last spring semester. The event happened Oct. 21 and is a smaller part of a national effort from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reduce drug overdose-related deaths and discourage prescription drug abuse, according to the official Drug Take Back Day website. Student Health Services, in partnership with the UCF Police Department and Wellness and Health Promotion Services, holds the event twice a year in order to give students a space to dispose of these substances “no questions asked.”
By Maya James
• NSM.today

Drug deactivation kits come to Student Health Services to dissuade drug abuse

UCF Student Health Services has received drug activation kits known as Deterra. Deterra is a drug disposal system that contains activated carbon to permanently absorb and deactivate pharmaceuticals meant to safely destroy unused or expire medications. These kits were requested in collaboration with SAFE Project, a national nonprofit that aligns itself with rallying against overdose deaths and addiction. The kits arrived Oct. 29, making it the first time UCF has offered remote or at-home drug d
By Maya James
• NSM.today

UCF CAPS hosts support workshop in light of Parkland shooting trial

In the days following Nikolas Cruz’s trial for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, UCF CAPS hosted an MSD student support workshop Wednesday. The workshop treaded on the heels of Cruz’s guilty plea in court. On Oct. 21, Cruz pleaded guilty for the Feb. 14, 2018, slaying of 14 students and three faculty members at MSD. With 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder, Cruz pleaded guilty to a total of 34 counts. He now faces either life
By Maya James
• NSM.today

UCF Republicans and Democrats work to get students ready to vote

College Democrats at UCF and College Republicans at UCF have individually been working to get UCF students registered to vote for the general election on Nov. 3 through collaboration with local politicians and organizations Didi Malka, chairman for the College Republicans at UCF, said the organization has had Republican House and Senate members who are running for election attend its virtual meetings since the beginning of the semester. “It is important to get our members and students aware of w
By Andrew Carson
• NSM.today

Future medical workers of UCF say they feel unprepared

Some medical students say COVID-19 has interrupted and changed the way they are learning, and they feel unprepared to be medical professionals after graduation. UCF medical students are learning mostly remotely. They are not getting as much hands on experience due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some students say this makes them feel like they will not be ready to be professionals. “This is my junior year, the year I'm supposed to get the most hands-on experiences working in the medical field, but I
By Morghan Chambers
• NSM.today

'I have seen profound changes': UCF earns certification for Latinx inclusivity

I wrote the article. UCF earned the Seal of Excelencia as a postsecondary institution for "intentionally serving Latino students and demonstrating positive student outcomes," according to the Excelencia in Education program. A part of Excelencia in Education's mission is to identify and promote universities increasing academic opportunities and improved achievement for Latino students in higher education, according to the organization's official website
By Florangel Rodriguez
• NSM.today

'I have seen profound changes': UCF earns certification for Latinx inclusivity!

I wrote the article. UCF earned the Seal of Excelencia as a postsecondary institution for "intentionally serving Latino students and demonstrating positive student outcomes," according to the Excelencia in Education program.
By Florangel Rodriguez
• NSM.today

UCF football opens the season against Boise State in the Bounce House: game preview

There is no more time for talk or speculation: the Gus Malzahn era launches tonight in the UCF Bounce House. UCF Football begins its journey to a much-anticipated season against the Boise State University Broncos today. The game will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. Over the past 15 seasons, the Knights and the Broncos have emerged as two premier Group of Five programs, combining for six BCS bowl/New Year’s Six appearances, according to UCF Athletics. “I think they’re a Top 25 team,” Malzahn said in a p
By Andrew Johnson
• NSM.today

Hard work and a love for sports; how Heather Marshall became a NCAA referee

There is no secret about the hardships women face in a sports world dominated by male officials. One former UCF student, Heather Marshall, has proved hard work and a love for sports can triumph those odds, and is now a referee for NCAA Division I Basketball. “Honestly, my mindset is to work as hard as I can, do the best I can, and hope to show I can be a good referee amongst males or females,” Marshall said. As an undergraduate in 2009, Marshall participated in intramural sports clubs like ba
By Andrew Johnson
• NSM.today

'Make 'em Believers': The Trillion Coles story

UCF's Trillion Coles sat in the football locker room on Saturday, waiting on a text message he's gotten from his mother since high school. Petrea Williams, Cole's mother, said the two have developed a special bond throughout their lives and have even created their own pregame ritual. Williams said she sends Coles the same message before every game: "Head up, Stay ready, and ‘Make 'em Believers’." Coles walked-on the football team in 2018 but did not see much action playing behind a talented gr
By Andrew Johnson
• NSM.today

UCF-made immigration documentary seeks to bring awareness to border crisis

This story details the work of UCF legal studies Professor Irene Pons and her students work; bringing awareness to the humanitarian issue with the U.S-Mexican Border crisis. This story details their recents trips, struggles and sights they witnessed out of their comfort zone and their next movie coming out in November 2021
By Okelo Pena
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Latinx and Hispanic voter influence in the 2020 presidential election

For sophomore psychology major Serena Somberg, not only was the 2020 presidential election a critical election for her as a first-time voter, it was also a critical election as a Latinx-voter. “The fact that this may be the most important election in my lifetime makes me feel anxious but also proud that I, along with a growing group of Hispanic/Latinx voters, could make such a significant impact,” Somberg said. Somberg is part of the largest racial minority voting bloc to participate in the up
By Juan Lopez
• NSM.today

Healthy Knights Expo nourishes students' health knowledge amid COVID-19

Socially-distanced tents lined Memory Mall Wednesday, as various UCF departments gathered to promote healthfulness, give out nutritious snacks and share health resources at the Healthy Knights Expo. The annual event is the largest health expo at UCF, according to the university's website. However, Wednesday's expo was held with several changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketing communications specialist Crystal Zavallo said these changes revolved around reducing all general “touch
By Maya James
• NSM.today

Better together: Online mental health service offers students increased support

Mental Illness Awareness Week, running from Oct. 3-9, extended the campaign for psychological and emotional care at UCF. The team at UCF Counseling and Psychological Services offered students an online, peer-to-peer program for mental health support for the recently ended National Suicide Prevention Month. In an email sent out to the campus community Tuesday, the university highlighted its mental health and wellness services, including CAPS, Student Care Services and Wellness and Health Promot
By Maya James
• NSM.today

UCF Cares' outreach fair brings clarity to student resources

UCF Cares began Let's Be Clear Week Monday, a series of support-based events offered throughout the week that Student Care Coordinator Jessica Farnan said is designed to help students work through traumatic situations. “All of these resources can help in some way, even if students want one of them or all of them," Farnan said. "They're all available to help them kind of move ... past whatever they're going through.” On Wednesday, the Let’s Be Clear resource fair was held in Ferrell Commons. Th
By Maya James
• NSM.today

Student Health Services 'spills the tea' on recovery resources

Student Health Services "spilled the tea" on National Recovery Month by providing free tea bags at the Student Union Monday. "Spill the Tea on Recovery" kicked off NRM and was UCF’s way of providing outreach to bridge the gap between recovering and non-recovering students. Wellness & Health Promotion Services collaborated with SHS on the event, supplying tea bags and fresh lemongrass from its FreshU kitchen. Crystal Zavallo, professional recovery coach and SHS marketing communications speciali
By Maya James
• NSM.today

COVID-19 sparks public homeless outreach within UCF, greater Orlando community

However, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, organizers in Orlando have put their heads together to bring relief to the local homeless community. As homeless individuals frequently gather in groups and are exposed to nature's elements without anywhere to self-quarantine, they are at a greater risk of coronavirus transmission than the general public, said Leilani Farha, a UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, in a press release. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Developmen
By Maya James
• NSM.today

Educational struggles due to the pandemic lead to student-led tutoring

In order to combat learning challenges brought by COVID-19, UCF’s branch of Young Democratic Socialists of America is planning a peer-led tutoring service to provide students with academic support. Headed by junior philosophy student Damian Thomas, the tutoring service is the first big project under Solidarity Corps, a subset of UCF YDSA which specializes in mutual aid work and student assistance on campus. Thomas said YDSA is networking with local students, alumni and national supports, such
By Maya James
• NSM.today

UCF students at risk following Chegg data breach

The UCF Information Security Office sent an email on Tuesday, Sept. 10 warning students about a potential attack targeting UCF emails as a result of a data breach with studying website Chegg in April of 2018. Due to users’ vital information being stored using weak encryption, the email addresses, names, usernames and passwords of customers were disclosed. The UCF Information Security Office (UCF INFOSEC) advised all UCF employees and students with Chegg accounts to immediately change their pass
By Maya James
• NSM.today

UCF students at risk following Chegg data breach

The UCF Information Security Office sent an email on Tuesday, Sept. 10 warning students about a potential attack targeting UCF emails as a result of a data breach with studying website Chegg in April of 2018. Due to users’ vital information being stored using weak encryption, the email addresses, names, usernames and passwords of customers were disclosed. The UCF Information Security Office (UCF INFOSEC) advised all UCF employees and students with Chegg accounts to immediately change their pass
By Maya James
• NSM.today