Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Importance of Studying Abroad

By Anna Fairman, Account Executive

Before beginning college I knew I wanted to study abroad.  The thought of living in a different country for 6-12 months seemed so exciting!

After arriving at Chico State, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the university has many great study abroad programs. Chico State study abroad sends more than 300 students to 30 different countries every year. My  dreams of studying abroad seemed as if they might actually come true.

When I was a freshman I attended the informational meetings about studying abroad. I didn’t need to be convinced that it would be the best time of my life, but I did walk away feeling even more determined to make it happen.

At the meetings, the study abroad coordinators showed pictures and told stories of student’s experiences abroad. The study abroad team stressed even more that those who study abroad are set apart from those who do not.

College students often hear that they should study abroad for “personal growth.”  Someone might say to them “it’ll help you come out of your shell” or “studying abroad will help you to become more independent.” While this is true, studying abroad helps in so many other ways! 

Studying abroad does help with professional growth. It stands out on résumés! When an employer sees that someone has lived in a different country for a long period of time, there are many desirable qualities the employer might infer about the potential job candidate.    

Study abroad students may gain leadership skills, cross cultural communication and an understanding of many different cultures. All of these qualities are important to obtain when entering the job market.

So, study abroad! Not only will you meet great people and have the time of your life, but you are also investing in your future!

Hey, if living on the beach can help you land a job; why not take advantage of it?!

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia. July 2011

View of the beach from my apartment. Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia. July 2011

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Expanding The Job Market Beyond the Borders

By Colin Leiker, Photographer and Videographer

Graduating and moving into the workforce is one of the biggest transitions a college graduate faces. The stress of today’s shaky economy, coupled with rising tuition costs and an increasing unemployment rate can take its toll on the decision-making process for most students.

In times like these, it is more important than ever to be open to opportunities when they present themselves. Living and working abroad is one such possible opportunity that is unfortunately often overlooked by most graduates.

Internship opportunities abroad are often more plentiful than here at home, and some even come with excellent benefits that are usually rarely given to graduates in the United States! Programs such as Cultural Vistas or GoAbroad are available to guide students through the process of seeking work in various locations across the globe. 4-year graduates often already meet prerequisites for many programs, and a student is only required to have the willingness to experience something new.

The benefits of working abroad are numerous. Gaining a sense of international understanding is a great educational opportunity that develops confidence in one’s own work skills. Life abroad can also sometimes be cheaper than here in the states! Getting to travel the world, learning about new cultures, learning a new language, and gaining an advantage in the job market are just a few of the many benefits of seeking work opportunities abroad. No matter what your career path may be, chances are you have a skill that is desired elsewhere in the world, and they are willing to pay you to do it.

So, escape the stress of the job market here in the U.S. for awhile and go have an adventure that pays off (in more ways than one!).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Twitter!

By Eli Gibbs, Lead Photographer and Videographer
March 21, 2006 marked the opening of Twitter, a microblogging host that limits user’s posts to 140 characters. The date is recognized because it was when Jack Dorsey, the recognized creator of Twitter, posted the first tweet.
Today, it is said that there are more than 500 million created user profiles and approximately 200 million users are posting actively. It is estimated that 400 million tweets are posted each day.
To celebrate the Website’s seventh birthday, Twitter released a video demonstrating a couple of concepts for which Twitter was able to create a very successful platform.
By now, most Internet users should be familiar with the concept of a hashtag. Twitter did not create the hashtag, but its implementation allows users to search and see anyone posting on the topic. Hashtags are now created for every major sporting event, television show, political movement, cause and much more. The hashtag for the 2012 Summer Olympic games was #London2012.
The hashtag is just one tool that allows crowdsourcing to be so effective. The Jan. 15, 2009 tweet from @jkrums in the video above illustrates how he was able to be a source close to the Hudson River crash while helping rescue people from the aircraft.

The most recent Twitter development is the launch of Vine, a mobile application that creates a user-friendly interface to post short videos--no longer than six seconds, and share them on Facebook or Twitter. Twitter acquired the company and the free app debuted January 24.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Web Design 101

By Kelsey Bond, Account Executive

For those of you who don't know anything about Web design, I will be sharing my top three important rules to keep users from leaving your site.

1. Don't make your users think Now, I’m not saying your users are too dumb to figure it out, the point is that we, as Web designers don’t want our users to leave our site out of frustration because they can’t find your navigation bar or things don’t load properly.

TIPS: It’s good to be different but don’t change the user experience so much that users can’t find anything.

2. KIS (keep it simple)This ties heavily back into not making your users think. If your site’s content, images and links are thrown onto a Web page with no clear structure, your user will leave. 

TIPS: Create a template and use that design throughout all your pages. 

3. Make use of effective writing Writing for the Web is completely different than writing a novel. The idea here is to provide just enough content for your users without overwhelming them or creating large chunks of text that will make your user leave.

TIPS: Break up the content using bullet points. Highlight or bold certain words to draw attention.

If you want more helpful rules and guidelines to follow, check out this article featured in Smashing Magazine!

Need a new idea? Visit Awwwards, it is full of brilliant and inspirational Website designs. (Remember: DON'T copy! These are for inspiration only!) 

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pass the Ball to Women

By Raquel Barroyo, Assistant Account Executive  

The sports industry has typically been a male-dominated field. Large amounts of time are devoted to showcasing men’s athleticism on SportsCenter each night and men typically hold coaching positions and jobs within sports media.

This trend may be due to the characteristics associated with sports, which are also equated to men: tough, rough and strong. It’s natural that they would be sought for their opinions and expertise.

Women also played a prominent role in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and they are paving the way for the rest of us.

I would love to incorporate my love of sports into a future career in public relations. If that career happens to take me to the San Francisco Giants then I certainly won’t complain.
After all, there is no better place to be than AT&T Park with the beautiful view of the Bay, Gilroy Garlic Fries and Ghirardelli hot chocolate to combat the ocean breeze.

However, positive changes within the sports industry in the last decade have given women a more prominent role within this exciting field. Media personalities such as Erin Andrews of FOX Sports and Anne Killion of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area prove that women can be just as knowledgeable about sports as men. 

Growing up I played a variety of sports like soccer, softball, volleyball, competitive cheerleading (yes, cheerleading is a sport) and basketball.  Even though I did not continue my athletic career into college, my love of sports has not waned.

With the importance of public relations in today’s social media-obsessed climate, many professional sports teams are utilizing individuals in this field to promote their players and organization.

Why shouldn’t some of these experts be women? 

Enjoying a Giants game with my dad and brother, Joe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sac Brew Week: Sacramento, CA

By Natalie Lessa, Photographer/Videographer

Sacramento Beer Week finished its last pour Sunday of what turned out to be a very successful plethora of craft brew events. As a beer connoisseur myself, I was beyond excited to check out some rare beers that would normally not be available in the Sacramento area. The biggest event of the week, for me, came on Saturday at CalExpo's Capital Beerfest.

Craft beer: "Beer made in a small, independent, and traditional form" - Brewers Association

The Capital Brewfest of 2013 proved how drinking can be done responsibly and in good taste.  Craft beer is known to bring communities together through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism, and sponsorship events. The day was a complete success. As the 3-hour event began to tap out, happy attendees piled into buses and taxis to find a safe way home.  

If you are going to attend a craft beer tasting event, take my advice:

1. Eat before you go.  
There is always food at beer tasting events.  Certain foods compliment particular varieties of beer, and all serve as a necessity for soaking up the alcohol. Sometimes vendors will provide tasters with their own homemade food, but don't count on it.  

2. Drink, drink, drink... water!  
There is no limit to how strong a craft beer can be. It is crucial to drink water throughout the event to balance out the beer.

3. Assume every 2 pours is one beer.  
A "pour" is the amount of beer the brewers pour into your glass.  They almost always come in small portions, which can be extremely deceiving. It can seem like you're not drinking very much beer, but you are drinking a high percentage of alcohol. Don't let the small cups deceive you!

4. Don't get too excited (my biggest setback).  
Beer tasting events can be exciting, social events. It's a chance to talk with the people that brought the beer to your glass. Much like a farmers market, you can engage in meaningful conversations about the product you're consuming. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the possible tasty beers you are going to drink, and you may even be worried that they'll tap out before you can drink them, but if you want to last the whole day, take it slow.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How To: No Bake Energy Bites

By Eden Wylie, Assistant Account Executive

We all have busy lives and sometimes need a quick and easy midday pick-me-up. These no-bake energy bites are a delicious and nutritious snack that is perfect for anyone who is feeling drained and needs some energy on the go. Even better, no culinary skills or experience required! I have made a step-by-step video showing how to make these energy bites so you can make them at home. I must warn you though... once you have tried this simple no-bake energy bites recipe, you will be hooked!

Here is the original recipe that I found on Pinterest.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can You Hear me Now?

By Hayley Barrett, Assistant Account Executive

In 20 years--maybe less, I will surely be deaf. I know this to be true because my headphones are constantly vibrating so loud that anyone near me could make out each distinct word. But for some peculiar reason, I crave the loud volume. I blame music festivals.

Each year I pine over the lineup at Coachella. Like most young people with a flair for music, fashion and celebrity sightings I scour the Internet to find any image of the experience. I gasp at the ridiculous outfits of the celebrities. Of course, as every music lover will say, I am in awe of the selection of bands. I begin to rationalize with myself about why yet again I am not attending this epic event. I balance the pros versus the cons. A pro is that this festival is a three-day collaboration of artists and an escape from the mundane. A con is that it is 12 hours away and I am broke. 

Although, for now, Coachella is out of my financial reach, I can thankfully still attend Outside Lands, or Bottle Rock. Bottle Rock is Napa’s first three-day music festival.  Anyone who is interested in an introduction to festival fun will find these two events to be an unparallel experience. 

Outside Lands is hosted from Aug. 9-11 in San Francisco. I have attended this event twice. This short weekend gives me a sense of peace and a yearlong soundtrack. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in front of the metal grate fences engaging in an unofficial arm wrestle between avid fans. Possibly because these festivals are reminiscent of a freer time, I discover myself erratically swaying to the beat as if I was a modern day Janis Joplin. My outfit is expertly crafted to look as if I spend five minutes getting dressed instead of five days carefully collaborating. Groups sit intertwined together in the grass musing inaudibly. On the off-chance they begin to get too rowdy, someone will shout over the noise, “Shut up! I can’t hear the music.”

I wonder what people will say about this generation of festival lovers, but I figure by this point we won’t be able to hear them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Balancing an Overloaded Schedule and Your Health

By Ashleigh Speaker, Graphic Designer

When my schedule gets chaotic the first things to go are exercise and taking the time to make healthy meals. 

Convenience food becomes my best friend. It’s easy to resort to the highly processed and fattening grab-and-go foods that you regret eating when you notice that your clothes have suddenly started fitting a little tighter. Instead of living with regret, stock up on some better grab-and-go options. 

Hummus and veggies are one of my favorites for a quick lunch or dinner. Go to this Website for simple recipes that don’t have processed ingredients in them. Eating less processed foods gives you more energy, making you more productive.  

Going to the gym becomes my last priority when I’m short on time. After a long day of school and work, the last thing I want to do is drag myself to the gym. Instead, I find myself lounging on the couch in front of the TV. Rather than turning into a couch potato, get up and do some exercises during the commercials. 

The art of multitasking can be your best friend. Get your work done while you exercise. Take a book with you to the gym and read while you are on the treadmill. Walk or jog while you read and take breaks in between chapters to run. 

Try doing your work standing up. This New York Times article explains why it is better to stand than to sit. Not only do you burn more calories, but standing also reduces your chances of getting heart disease. 

Small changes can make you feel better and get more accomplished.