Trey Rabinowitz

Psychology: The brains behind the mind

Psychology is the study of the mind and its functions, yet the process of many psychology activities contain far more science than you may believe. Miami University psychology Professor Vrinda Kalia shared that expertise with Summer Scholars enrolled in her Mysteries of the Mind module in this year’s Summer Scholars program.

Vrinda Kalia
Vrinda Kalia explores Mysteries of the Mind. — Contributed photo 

In an interview, Kalia began by burying some of the rumors that have been spread over the years about psychology as a whole. 

“(Psychology) is not a mind-reading class,” Kalia said.

The theme of the module highlighted a key component of many “-ologyies.” And that is science. Kalia reviewed the scientific process, data, experimental research and genetics. 

Kalia buried some other rumors, too, including the vaccine- autism rumor. This rumor, originally created by a doctor who later had his medical license revoked for this exact reason, was shown to be unsupported by any credible research. Kalia explained the force behind this rumor was created by a theory called “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias allows people to see one tiny piece of evidence supporting their opinion and totally ignore the evidence against it. In a matter of two hours, Kalia used psychology to not only debunk one of the most dangerous rumors created, but also explain the cause of how this rumor spread so far and so quickly. 

Although Kalia believes in psychology and would welcome her Summer Scholars students in this major, that was not her main focus. Instead, Kalia said, she wants to leave her students with three primary main points. 

“I want my students to leave knowing three things: science is good, stress is bad, and humans are naturally motivated,” Kalia said. 

Kalia acknowledged the appreciation students have for learning, in and out of the classroom. In the early 1960s only 4% of students graduating high school went on to college. By contrast, her Summer Scholars class included students handling college-level material while still in high school.       

Five Questions with Simone Rackmill

Question: Why did you choose to be a counselor?

Answer: So I did Summer Scholars when I was a rising senior and I just had such a fun and enjoyable time that I was like, “Hey, I wanna do that from the other side!” And I’m definitely glad I did it.

Simone gets ready for her last day of Summer Scholars. — Photo by Trey Rabinowitz

Q: What’s your favorite activity in the two week program?

A: I do really like Broom-ball. Dodgeball was also really fun but I always love seeing that competition and I also think within that competition, you always just see that family come together and get closer which is what I think is always so cool. 

Q: What is some advice you try to give to the scholars?

A: As far as college goes, don’t be afraid to reach out to your counselors, Steven, Nloh, Tyler and like anyone that you’ve met. I would just say take advantage of that. And in life, just try to keep a positive attitude.

Q: What is the biggest difference between college life and scholars life?

A: There are a lot of differences because you guys (high schoolers) are still minors so you have a curfew, we have to take your medicine and all of those types of things. Socially, I would say the biggest difference is that you make your own decisions. Like, if you decide you want Bagel and Deli at two in the morning, you can go out and get Bagel and Deli. Academically, for these two weeks, you are in the same session, with the same professor, but once you get to college you might see your teacher every other day, and they are structured differently so you are not in the same class every day. 

Q: What is your major, and what do you plan to do with it in the future?

A: I am in Anthropology and Political Science. Honestly, at the moment I’m not really sure. At the moment I’m thinking about grad school but I still have a whole another year to figure it out. That’s just on my radar. As far as what I want to do in the future, I definitely think it would be cool to join the Peace Corp at some point and then from there maybe try to get a job at the United Nations

Eddy Alfonso: The hardest fight

A Heavyweight Champion appears. Is he 6 feet tall, 300 pounds, raised by a dad who taught him boxing since birth? Or is this mystery fighter 5-foot-3, just 17, and without a father figure until he was 7 years old?

Eddy Alfonso, the Heavyweight champion in Miami, Florida, fits the second profile. He’s excelled in his sport without the origin story of a typical boxer. Hailing from Guatemala, Alfonso was adopted Aug. 26, 2010, to a male couple. He realized young that he wanted to get in shape and get stronger. He used boxing, MMA, Judo, Aikido and Taekwondo as workouts. It did not take Alfonso long to realize he had a future in boxing. Beginning in Since 2011 Alfonso has worked his way up through ninety fights to become Miami’s Heavyweight Champion.

Eddy recounts his championship fight. — Photo by Trey Rabinowitz

Alfonso believed he had to fight to protect him and his name. Alfonso says “Boxing was for me.” “I’m a tiny guy, so physically people doubt me.” 

Alfonso stayed that he has been forced into two fights on the streets of Miami. Though, it should not be a challenge for him, Eddy expresses his disapproval of street fights. “Boxing is to protect me and my friends, not knock some guy out.” Alfonso explains.

Alfonso does get tainted constantly, and his necklace does provide a deterrent for nearby fighters searching for an altercation. Wrapped around Alfonso’s neck lays a fake tooth of a man. A man who lost that tooth by Alfonso himself after a devastating blow to the jaw. Alfonso later kept and drilled a hole in the tooth as a sign for future attackers, that one hit could be all he needs. 

Alfonso’s will however outweighs his strength. In his championship match, Alfonso expressed how evenly matched the two were. After nine rounds, both contenders remained standing. Although Alfonso’s opponent was so incredibly injured, he was forced to yield and give the belt over to Alfonso. 

Alfonso says “I won because I survived, that’s it.” Eddy has devoted his life to boxing because he loves the sport, but a driving force will always keep him throwing punches. 

Back when Eddy was homeless and alone he says “No one ever said hey, I love you.” 

Alfonso’s parents love and care for him, yet he continues to fight because fighting is what Eddy Alfonso knows.

Jelani McKenzie: The masked man

“Code switching” is a phrase not commonly known or understood by white people in America. Although according to the foundation chair of the Jack and Jill of America organization, code switching is something every person of color in America faces at least once in their life.

Jelani McKenzie observes art at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. — Photo by Trey Rabinowitz

Jelani McKenzie is a 17-year-old entering his senior year of high school. McKenzie contributes to the 2 percent of students who identify as black in his high school. McKenzie believed he did not have too much flexibility in his choice of friends as their were only a handful of black students in his high school. McKenzie is surrounded by one color during the day, and another during the night. 

Jelani McKenzie is the newly appointed foundation chair of the Powell, Ohio, chapter of the Jack and Jill organization. Their goal is to nurture future African-American leaders and allow African-Americans to have a community to help with their charity work and volunteer service. The organization consists exclusively of African-Americans, ages 2-19. 

McKenzie has been participating in this nonprofit organization for as long as he can remember, but he submerged himself in code switching when he moved to Powell. At twelve years old, Mackenzie traveled from Flemington, New Jersey, to Powell, Ohio, and began his new life. 

McKenzie used the Jack and Jill organization as an outlet for him to be his true self among the small percentage of African-Americans at his school. McKenzie uses a wider vocabulary at the organization, using phrases such as “no cap” to express seriousness. McKenzie’s code switching has become second nature, and the idea of going along to get along switches on “from the moment (he) talks to a white person.” The organization, however, does not only benefit those involved. 

McKenzie’s role as foundation chair allows him to have a say to what the funds made by the organizations should support. McKenzie is currently pushing for the funds to be placed for mentally disabled black citizens. 

McKenzie states, “It’s a problem not many are aware of, and they need to be.” McKenzie is fighting for others who may also believe they need to act different in front of certain others. 

McKenzie also states, “I don’t need the organization, but it helps.” 

Jelani McKenzie forces one to wonder, who else is wearing a mask through the day in order to cover their true identity?

Reflective Essay: My two weeks At Miami University

The two weeks I spent here at Miami University were beyond eye-opening and if I learned one thing about media and journalism, it is that: The only constant is change.

Summer Scholars tour campus. — Photo by Professor Newberry

The obvious trend affecting all sources of journalism today, is the rise of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others make it almost impossible for reporters to be the first in any big event. This has caused most news outlets to downsize but has caused all to adapt. Newspapers, magazines, television and radio need to attract their readers and give them a reason to choose them; this is how I fit in.

As I learned from Mark Curnutte at the Cincinnati Enquirer, change is never stopping and will continue to flow and they only way to avoid getting run over is to get on it. I believe my writing style can aid the journalism and media business by luring the reader to a story and stay on that story. 

The media industry has taught me that writing is much more than writing, and news is much more than news. All the actors need to come together, the news needs to be reported, and then displayed in an attractive fashion, and needs to be easily accessible. Even then, everything can come together perfectly and still not work because the reader say something on their phone about the same topic you just wrote about and are now not interested. 

The most unbelievable aspect of the journalism and media industry is the intricate times each worker has to deliver their product. Being a journalist attempting to get her story written before the deadline is difficult in itself, but needing the editor to format and publish it at the right time makes the process that much harder. This helped me understand and appreciate not only the journalists but the people who allow the reader to view their pieces. 

The business of journalism seems like a confusing, frustrating, sleep-losing business, and it is also one that I am willing to pursue in college and as a profession. I look forward to continuing my career as a journalist. 

About the author

Seventeen-year old Trey Rabinowitz is an incoming senior at Westfield High School in Westfield, New Jersey.

Trey Rabinowitz visits Miami University as a potential college. — Photo by Samuel Michalski

Rabinowitz lives with his two parents while his two older brothers are away in college. Rabinowitz spends his free time reading and competing in a flag football league. He has taken several journalism classes and has written for his school newspaper, The High’s Eye, while writing for a local news website over the summer. Rabinowitz still finds time to work at the restaurant Stage House, spend time with his family, and even participate in the ping-pong club. Living in a never-resting town, 45 minutes from New York City, he is never too far from a story and no stranger to writing one.