Category Archives: Summer 2017: Let’s Talk

Adventuresome Civility: The Brave Work of Finding Common Ground

  This season is brimming with questions of who we are to each other — how we should relate to each other in the spaces and time we share. You’ve heard the buzzwords to describe America’s condition — polarized, divided, a widening spectrum. You may have also heard pleas from leaders, or even your own friends and family, for civil discourse. This season is brimming with questions of who we are to each other — how we should relate to each other in the spaces…

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Student-Athletes Honored at Inaugural S.L.A.M. Awards

On Sunday, April 30, two hundred of PLNU’s student-athletes and 150 of their family members, friends, coaches, and mentors gathered at Liberty Station Conference Center for the inaugural Sea Lions Athletic Merit (S.L.A.M.) Awards. Established to recognize the athletic success, academic achievement, and community dedication of our student-athletes, the S.L.A.M. Awards are expected to become an annual tradition at the close of every school year. As the student-athletes arrived on that warm April evening, they were nearly unrecognizable, having traded in their green and gold…

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How Much Do Our Words Matter?

Although we have always known it intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, communities, and the world. In fact, words can literally shape the material world. The words we speak not only reflect, but shape our thoughts, and our thoughts shape the physical structure of our brains. An NPR interview between host Ira Flatow and science writer Sharon Begley, “Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?” revealed how findings in neuroplasticity suggest the way we think can not only change…

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Teaching Machines to Learn

  Not only was she pushing herself outside of her comfort zone exploring this new field, Dotter was also getting to ask questions of purpose and meaning, questions at the intersection of both computer science and biology. How can we teach a computer to learn the way we do? While many people have wondered that very question for years, not many people in the world today have approached the question of automated segmentation using machine learning — an area at the forefront of technological studies.…

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The Logical Approach: Learning to Disagree Agreeably

Imagine a group of friends gathered around a table — eating, talking, and enjoying one another’s company. As these friends discuss life, their conversation turns to politics and they quickly discover they hold different views on particular policy issues. But instead of descending into a heated exchange or changing the subject, the friends begin to respectfully discuss and debate the merits and weaknesses of each position. Although this scenario may seem unlikely in the emotionally charged political climate we are living in today, PLNU’s Speech…

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Dr. Mike Dorrell

What if effective cancer treatments didn’t cause serious and uncomfortable side effects? What if people with vision loss could have their sight fully restored? These challenging, worthy feats are the end goals of the research to which Dr. Mike Dorrell, PLNU professor of biology, has devoted his career. A full-time, tenured faculty member at PLNU, Dorrell also spends one day a week overseeing research as a senior staff scientist at the Lowy Medical Research Institute (LMRI), which is dedicated to understanding and treating the eye…

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The Social Media Silo Situation

The year is 2016. The place, Facebook. A 30-something man is scrolling through his newsfeed when he sees the inflammatory headline of a news article bashing the presidential candidate he supports. Angrily, the man glances up to see who posted the article, hesitates momentarily, and then “unfriends” the “friend” he has not seen since high school. Is the man right to remove the offending presence? After all, the article was clearly biased, and discussing politics over social media never changes anyone’s mind, right? Navigating the…

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Q&A with Larry Rankin

Dr. Larry Rankin first came to PLNU in 2002. As program co-director of PLNU’s first doctoral program, the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), he sat down with us to share about the new program and his own journey in nursing. Q: First off, what’s the difference between the DNP and the Ph.D.? A: The difference is in focus — the DNP is a clinical practice degree while the Ph.D. in Nursing is a research-focused degree. With the DNP, advanced practice nurses in clinical settings are…

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Finding the Right Chemistry

A teenage Dennis Burkett (95) stares longingly at the clock on the wall, already waiting for the bell’s sweet release from the dreaded high school chemistry class that’s just begun. Three chalkboards filled to the brim with vocabulary from this week’s lesson stare dauntingly at him as he reluctantly lifts his pencil to begin the laborious task of copying each definition into his notebook — a routine to which he’s become far too accustomed. Fast forward almost 30 years. Burkett now stands on the other…

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