STEM Studies

STEM studies focus on several particular subjects. These subjects include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Additionally, chemistry and physics are covered as well (Sharma, 2011). Therefore, less emphasis is placed on subjects such as history. Although history is one of my favorite subjects and it saddens me to see this subject declining, evidence has suggested that STEM jobs are paying off for students studying these subjects. It is a fact that these jobs tend to pay more than other areas of study. Several studies have indicated that sixty-three percent of associate degrees in stem studies earned more than bachelor degree holders in non-STEM occupations (Sharma, 2011). Another convincing statistic is that 47% of stem students with a bachelor’s degree earned more than those with a master’s degree in non-stem occupations (Sharma,2011). Therefore, this evidence proves that degrees in these subjects are paying off. Jobs are also increasing in these subjects (see chart below). It proves to me that more emphasis should be placed on these subjects. However, I feel that subjects such as history still should be taught and understood by students.

Sharma, S. (2011, October 21). STEM jobs pay more, reduce the wage gap between men and women. The Chronicle.

Retrieved from

The State of our Union’s 21st Century Workforce (2012, February 6). Retrieved from



     Massive Open Online Courses can change higher education for several reasons. This is because they provide a college level education at a fraction of the cost. In fact, many of these courses are free (Newsom, 2013). These courses also do not require a person to be a student at the school (Newsom, 2013). Therefore, even people from other countries interested in MOOC’s can take courses. As Scott Kisner (2013) of the Boston Globe writes, on certain websites such as Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy, people “can learn how to run a clinical trial that will satisfy the Food and Drug Administration, study aircraft design, or dive into the basics of environmental law.” However, these courses should not be seen as an alternative to internships, college education, or first hand experience. Instead, they should be used as a resume builder as companies today are still are focusing on past experience and quality of work (Kisner, 2013).

     As Geoffrey A. Fowler (2013) of the Wall Street Journal describes, MOOC’s still have room for improvement. He states that students “staring at a screen” does not provide first hand experience. This is why online education can never fully replace courses provided at a college. Although some majors, such as English majors, could benefit from online courses, nursing majors would struggle in an online setting. Majors like this need hands on work that could never be replicated through a computer screen. Therefore, my verdict on MOOC’s is that they can be great for some majors but for many, they are not a complete alternative to official college classes.


Fowler, G.A. (2013, October 8). An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses. The

     Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Kirsner, S. (2013, October 6). Will MOOCs help you open career doors? Boston Globe.

     Retrieved from

Newsom, J. (2013, October 13). MOOCs: Online courses might change face of higher

     education. News-Record. Retrieved from


     Syria has been on the news for a long time now as a result of their ongoing civil war between their government and their own civilians. Despite the fact that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has massacred thousands of innocent civilians, the United States has stayed out until recently. Due to reports of Assad launching chemical weapons attacks on its own civilians, the United States came extremely close to bombing Syria. Last month, reports came out that a senior national security official told ABC News that a “U.S. military strike on Syria will do more damage to the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 48 hours than Syrian rebels have done in two years of civil war” (Karl & Martinez,2013). The same report stated that the U.S. would use a “significantly expanded” air campaign that would include long range bombers as well as Tomohawk missiles launched from U.S. war ships (Karl & Martinez,2013). As recently as a few weeks ago, however, it appears that the U.S. will stay clear of this airstrike. The U.S. has stayed clear all in part of a deal that was reached with Syria and Russia that that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 (Gordon, 2013).

     This agreement came after Russia spoke out against a possible U.S. strike. Although it is a good thing that another war was prevented, this does not look good for “the world’s most powerful country.” In the eyes of many Americans, this deal shows how weak the Obama Administration is in the international community and how Russia is gaining power. It comes off as Russia telling Americans how to act and what to do. I would have supported an airstrike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities as a result of a limited action air campaign. However, President Obama was too weak to act in this manner. Say what you want about former President Bush but with him in office, Assad would have never even considered using chemical weapons due to the fact that other countries feared us. Had Syria used the weapons, Bush would have unleashed an incredible air campaign similar to the Shock and Awe strike on Iraq in 2003. With Obama in office, other countries push our buttons without any fear of us retaliating and they do not respect us. In order for that to happen, we can not allow Russia to tell us what to do. 


Gordon, M.R. (2013, September 14). U.S. and Russia Reach Deal to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Arms. New York Times. Retrieved    


Karl, J. & Martinez, L. (2013, September 6). US Eyes Broader Syrian Strike to Include Bombers. ABC News. Retrieved from


Government Shutdown

  The  government shutdown has more affect on the public than many people realize. National parks are shut down, federal government workers are without work for the time being, military personnel are working unpaid for the time being, and federal facilities are being shut down. When Sheila Caraway, 23, arrived at the I.R.S. office in downtown Los Angeles, she was turned away by a security officer who explained that parts of the government had been shut down. She left the I.R.S. without the tax refund that she had hoped would help pay for her cable TV bill (Shear, 2013). Immigration agencies are also affected with the VISA process being delayed. During the last shutdown in 1996, “approximately 20,000-30,000 visa applications by foreigners went unprocessed for each day offices were closed and 200,000 applications for passports of U.S. citizens stalled” (Grenier, 2013). Therefore, immigrants waiting on their visas in order to get a job or to prove that they are legal citizens can expect a delay for the time being. As a result of this shutdown, many Americans are impacted in more ways than most people realize. 


Grenier, A. (n.d.). Immigration Impact: How a Government Shutdown Likely Affects Immigration Agencies. Retrieved from   

Shear, M.D. (2013, October 1). U.S. Reckons With Impact of Shutdown. New York Times. Retrieved from



APA Citing

My major at SUNY Albany is Criminal Justice. Therefore, the topic I will research is policing using a book source, an online newspaper article, and a journal article. 

                                                                                   Book Source

     Perez, D. W. (2011). Paradoxes of Police Work (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, New York: Delmar Cengage Learning.

                                                                                  Journal Article

     Paulsen, M. G. (1961). The Exclusionary Rule and Misconduct by Police. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology,

Volume 52 (3), 255-256. Retrieved from

                                                                              News Paper Article

     Balko, R. (2013, August 15). Drawing Down: How To Roll Back Police Militarization In America. Huffington Post. Retrieved




Open Source

   Open Source refers to software in which the blueprint, or source code, is available to anyone to change and improve. Ideally, they are made publicly available in order for users to add features to it or fix areas that may not have worked correctly. Open source software differs strongly from closed software or proprietary software in which the software can not be modified by anyone other than its creators. Although open source software can be useful and beneficial to users, malicious users have the ability to use open source software and distribute codes for viruses and other hacking methods. However, because users have the ability to view and edit the software codes, an argument can be made that open source brings less of a risk in terms of viruses. Because the codes of proprietary software can not be viewed by anyone other than its creators, these bring more of a risk in terms of computer viruses.

Net Neutrality

     The idea of net neutrality initially comes across as a good thing to online viewers. However, with federal government restrictions and rules, companies are affected as well. I fully support true net neutrality but with federal regulations, the government is quickly taking control of every website on the internet. Many argue that the government over steps its authority. SOPA is better, in some aspects, than net neutrality because it targets individual sites that engage in illegal activity when a warrant is obtained. Net Neutrality rules allow the government to target all sites whenever they want to. I do not think that companies oppose the idea of net neutrality. They strongly oppose the government regulations that come with it, however. It is important for people so strongly for internet neutrality to atleast see the point that companies are making. However, it is important for the companies to see that the viewers do not want our country to turn into China, North Korea, or Iran, who all censor information in their countries.