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Serial at the VPAC

Julie Snyder and Sarah Koenig, the creators of the popular podcast, SERIAL, described the process of creating their award winning show March 5 at the VPAC. Photo credit: Nicollette Ashtiani

Serial co-creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder gave fans an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the fastest podcast to reach five million downloads in iTunes history.

The live presentation, held at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Saturday night, showcased real tapes, photos, emails, digital files, voice messages and personal anecdotes to help tell the story behind the first season of Serial which is a podcast that delves deeply into a compelling true story over the course of a season.

“In Serial, we just wanted to make a story that didn’t feel fake in any way—that laid bare the complexities of not just these people and this case, but laid bare the complexities of reporting,” said Koenig. “We wanted to make everyone seem as three dimensional and as human as possible.”

The presenters spoke casually, sharing parodies of the podcast, its subculture, their relationships with the cast and their struggle to write an appropriate and conclusive finale. They also shared with fans and students the crucial bits of advice they were given along the way.

“We should always be looking for the moments in our stories that reflect life the way that it really is, and not to mimic things in other stories because we think that’s the way its supposed to be,” said Snyder. “Reporting stories this way with artistry, I think it creates intimacy, but it also creates empathy. It’s what moves a story from being just like simply interesting to being meaningful.”

The presentation ended with a brief Q-and-A segment, where fans of the show asked about the pitfalls of journalism, the ethical dilemmas that sometimes appear in reporting sensitive cases and questions about Serial Season 2.

“[The presentation] was really good. I didn’t expect them to be so personal,” said Kimberly Hernandez, an attendee and avid listener of the show. “I’ve been a fan since the beginning, so it was really cool hearing the stories about how they got started and everything. I’m so addicted to Serial.”

Koenig and Snyder also gave insight as to why they believe the show is so popular. They said their initial goal was to attract a modest 300,000 listeners—a goal they reached within just five days of launching the show.

“When people were listening, the part of their brain that would light up for TV shows like House of Cards or Breaking Bad or whatever… was also lighting up when they listened to Serial,” said Koenig. “So, they were reacting to it in the way that they’re used to reacting to escapist entertainment, but it wasn’t—it was journalism.”

Currently, Koenig and Snyder are busy creating Serial Season 2, which tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who walked off his post and was captured by the Taliban for nearly five years in 2009.

Evening Update Fri March 4

The Camarillo City Council settles on a plan to protect homes in an area ravaged by mud and debris flows.

Stores that accept government food stamps are being told to have plenty of fresh and healthy choices in stock like fruits and vegetables.

Black middle and high school students receive a disproportionate number of school suspensions.

An exhaustive study on diversity in Hollywood finds an epidemic of invisibility runs through the industry for women, minorities, and L-G-B-T people.

A General who heads the U-S Southern Command says there will eventually be pressure for the military to lower standards for women serving in combat roles.

Women learn defense, gain confidence with RAD

Rebecca Stein, business administration major with an emphasis in real estate, hits back during a simulation practice during the last class of R.A.D. training held at the Police Services Building Thursday night. (Patricia Perdomo / The Sundial)

Women interested in learning self-defense had the opportunity to participate in the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program, a shortened version of the semester-long course that consists of four three-hour sessions facilitated by the CSUN Police Services staff that ended on March 3.

“It is an opportunity for the ladies to practice self-defense under pressure, to trust themselves and to take control of the situation,” Captain Scott G. VanScoy said.

According to the CSUN PD website, RAD was founded in 1989 and has grown to be the largest self-defense training network of its kind. It provides hands-on training in prevention and risk-reduction strategies against a perpetrator.

VanScoy explained the program is about women building confidence and self-esteem.

After hands-on training and ground defense techniques, women participated in simulated assault scenarios where they were able to display the skills they learned in a safe environment.

“The class was definitely fun; I was not expecting it to be,” said Rebecca Stein, a business administration major with an emphasis in real estate. “I am really happy the instructors were very open and honest. It is not wasted energy at all.”

Only 12 people registered for the class this semester. However, some of the attendees said they would come back next time and bring more people.

Claire Smith, a communication disorders major with an emphasis in speech-language pathology, said this was her second time joining the class.

“It was a refresher for me, learning new techniques,” Smith said. “It gave me a confidence boost. I just have to practice now on my own time.”


CSUN staff Evelyn Garcia and students Claire Smith and Rebecca Stein go over moves before the start of the simulation at R.A.D.’s final class Thursday. (Patricia Perdomo / The Sundial)
Freshman Rebecca Stein, a Real Estate major, manages to escape from a simulated situation of being grabbed from behind with her R.A.D. training held at the Police Services Building Thursday night. (Patricia Perdomo / The Sundial) Photo credit: Patricia Perdomo
Evelyn Garcia, a CSUN staff member, suited up in protective gear for the simulation practice during the last class of R.A.D. training held at the Police Services Building Thursday night. (Patricia Perdomo / The Sundial) Photo credit: Patricia Perdomo


CSUN loses triple-overtime thriller on Senior Night

Senior forward Tre Hale-Edmerson closed out his career in the top 10 in blocks, assists, steals and rebounds in CSUN history. (File Photo / Patricia Perdomo / The Sundial)

In the final game of the season and the final game of senior forward Tre Hale-Edmerson’s storied Matador career, the Matadors were outlasted by the UC Davis Aggies, 87-83, in three overtimes.

The Aggies ended up out rebounding and having a better field goal percentage than the Matadors.

“Because they have two post-up guys, the tempo the game with those guys,” said CSUN Head Coach Reggie Theus. “It gave them the ability to have more stamina down the stretch and eventually it wore us down.”

Despite the loss, there was a celebratory and jubilance that filled the gym to honor Hale-Edmerson.

“Although we didn’t get the win, it was good to have all the people in that atmosphere,” he said. “I had people clapping and cheering whenever I was out and they were announcing me in.”

“It was a good game to end on.”

Hale-Edmerson was the only senior being honored after senior guard Landon Drew left the team in January due to injury and senior center Olalekan Ajayi, who was not allowed to compete, due to a violation of team and university rules.

“I came in with five, six guys. It’s just crazy to see that I’m the last one here,” Hale-Edmerson said. “Especially with Landon [Drew], we’ve gone through every single thing together and that’s what was tough for me was that we didn’t end it together; we traveled all that way.”

Hale-Edmerson had cheers toward him throughout the game and saw fans with face cut-outs of himself throughout the Matadome.

“I thought Tre’s senior season was really good; I thought he played very well as a senior,” Theus said. “He showed leadership; Tre did a lot of growing up in three years.”

“Tre got very close to being ran off the team a couple times, but showed his value.”

As for the game, the Matadors controlled the pace for most of the game. Overall, the team lapses were the name of the game seeing the Matadors had multiple chances to pull away.

CSUN trailed the Aggies early on, 8-2, but they battled back.

At the 5:59 mark, a jumper by junior guard Aaron Parks nodded the game at 17.

CSUN was outshooting the Aggies 43 percent to 32 percent.

A three-pointer by sophomore guard Micheal Warren gave the Matadors an 11-point lead, their largest of the game to make the score, 43-32.

The Aggies went on a run of their own over a span of seven minutes to take the lead.

The Aggies led the Matadors, 46-45, with just over seven minutes to go in the game.

With 46 seconds left in the second half, the Matadors trailed the Aggies, 56-51.

However, the CSUN would close the gap in the next 18 seconds and force overtime after consecutive baskets from Parks and Warren.

The teams battled in the extra frame, with the Matadors clinging to a 67-63 lead with 23 seconds left.

But defensive lapses and missed free-throws allowed the Aggies to get easy lay-ups and eventually tied the game at 69 and brought on a second overtime.

The second overtime continued to see the two teams break even, and they headed to a decisive third overtime tied at 77.

The Aggies seized control halfway through the extra-time and never looked back.

In the first four minutes of the third overtime, the Aggies went on a 10-4 run powered by strong play in the paint and finally knocking down jump shots that led to a 87-83 victory.

The loss caps off another disappointing season on and off the court under Theus’ watch, as they the CSUN imposed a postseason ban for the program.

In spite of the program’s shortcomings, Parks remains optimistic and hungry.

“I’m ready to heal back up and get back to work in the summer,” he said.

CSUN dispatches Mount Olive in straight sets

After a rough start to the season, CSUN has seemingly gotten back on track with two straight wins on the road. (File Photo / David J. Hawkins / The Sundial)

For the second straight night, the Matadors claimed a road victory, as they defeated the University of Mount Olive Trojans in straight sets.

CSUN’s strong play carried over from its tough win last night, as the team displayed a sharp, all around effort en route to cruising to a straight set victory against the Trojans. The Matadors won the three sets by scores of 25-12, 25-17 and 25-20.

After a tough stretch that saw CSUN start the season 1-5 on the road, the team has now won the last two games on the opposite side of the country in back to back nights. The Matadors improved their road record to 3-5 in the process.

Junior outside hitter Jakub Ciesla set the tone for the Matadors by leading the team with nine kills overall (.571), while only committing one error. Ciesla also served at a tremendous pace, recording five service aces as the Trojans had no answer for the gun that was his right arm.

Freshman outside hitter Dimitar Kalchev (.455) and sophomore middle blocker Josiah Byers (.444) tied for second on the team with six kills each. No CSUN player with more than one attempt had a hitting percentage of less than .364, in what was an overall extremely impressive team victory.

The Matadors return home for their next game as they face off against conference foe the University of Hawaii, at 7 p.m. on March 11.

Late rally sparks CSUN past George Washington in extra innings

Catcher Dylan Alexander slides into third base, Sunday, February 28, 2016. Alexander went one for one hitting against Northern Colorado. (Josue Aguilar/Sundial)

CSUN (8-3 overall) put on its rally caps to beat the George Washington Colonials, 6-5, in 11 innings during the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Matadors trailed for most of the game, but they were able to string together multiple rallies to send the game into extra innings.

Junior pitcher Rayne Raven was shelled for four runs on seven hits in just five innings of work.

The Matador bullpen was stellar, allowing one run in six innings.

Freshman pitcher Andrew Weston took home the victory as he allowed zero runs and only three hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Freshman pitcher Joey Deceglie got the save on two pitches to secure the CSUN sweep of the doubleheader.

After five innings, the Matadors trailed the Colonials 4-0 after GWU scored one run in the first inning then three runs in the fifth.

In the sixth inning, the Matadors were able to get on the board on an RBI double by sophomore catcher Albee Weiss to score senior outfielder Branden Berry. The senior got on with a single to make the score 4-1.

The Matadors scratched across two more runs to make the score 4-3 in the seventh.

Junior infielder Fred smith singled to score outfielder Bobby Schuman which was followed by a single by sophomore outfielder Justin Toerner that scored freshmen infielder Jose Ruiz.

Going into the ninth inning, the Matadors trailed the Colonials 5-4.

The Matadors tied the game on an RBI ground out by sophomore infielder Nolan Bumstead to score Toerner to knotting the game at five.

The Matadors sent the game into extra innings where Bumstead sent a sacrifice fly to score Toerner, giving the Matadors the 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Weston and Deceglie held on for the Matadors’ win.

Strong Pitching powers the Matadors to victory against George Washington

Braden Berry hitting at the home opener against Cal State Bakersfield. (Photo by: Ashley Grant) Photo credit: Ashley Grant

CSUN (7-3 overall) defeated George Washington University (3-6 overall) 4-2 on the road in the first game of a doubleheade

Starting pitcher Kenny Rosenberg set the Matadors up for their win, giving CSUN six strong innings while allowing only two runs on four hits while also adding six strikeouts.

Junior pitcher Conner O’Neil didn’t allow a hit in relief, pitching three perfect innings to go along with four strikeouts to give him the win.

Junior infielder Fred Smith was a spark at the top of the order going three-for-five with two runs and a stolen base.

The Matadors took an early 1-0 lead in the top half of the first after Smith scored on a groundout by sophomore catcher Albee Weiss, who went one-for-four with two RBIs.

In the bottom of the first, the Colonials took an early 2-1 lead on a two-run home run. This would be the only blemish on an otherwise good game of pitching by the Matadors.

In the third inning, sophomore outfielder Elias Orona led off with a double and scored in on a sacrifice fly by sophomore outfielder Justin Toerner, tying the game up at two.

The Matadors were held in check over the next four innings.

Smith begun the eighth inning by reaching base on an error by the George Washington first baseman.

Toerner moved Smith into scoring position after sac bunting.

Weiss singled to left center to score Smith and give the Matadors a 3-2 lead and their first lead of the game.

The Matadors later tacked on another run in the ninth inning on a fly-out by freshman infielder Jose Ruiz, which scored senior infielder Yusuke Akitoshi.

Matadors snap four game losing streak

Women's Basketball 2014-2015 bench on March 5, 2015. (Trevor Stamp / Multimedia Editor)

The CSUN women’s basketball team pulled off an 82-71 victory on the road over the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Thursday night.

The win improves the Matadors to 7-22, and 5-10 in Big West Conference play.

Leading the way for the Matadors was the first-year center Channon Fluker who continued her strong play and finished with another double-double. She scored 22 points on 52.9 percent shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds. The first-year guard Claudia Ramos added 15 points on 83.3 percent shooting with all of her shots coming from the three point line.

Titans were led by junior guard Samantha Logan, she scored 24 points on 52.9 percent shooting, pulled down seven rebounds, and dished out four assists.

Although the Matadors have struggled offensively at times, they were clicking on all cylinders against the Titans. The women shot 54.5 percent from the field, including a scorching 64.7 percent from behind the arc. CSUN allowed 13 turnovers.

CSUN overpowered the Titans in the post, outscoring them 33-18 in the paint and outrebounding them 37-32.

The Matadors held the Titans to only 34.9 percent shooting from the field. In the first half, CSUN allowed the Titans to shoot 43.8 percent from the three then brought it down to 35.7 percent in the second half.

The Matadors will return home for the final game of the regular season on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Beach Volleyball vs. Bakersfield

Raul Martinez /File Photo/The Sundial

In its 2016 season opener, CSUN’s beach volleyball team earned a 3-2 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday.

The Roadrunners took the first two matches 21-19 and 21-18 in the first and 21-17 and 21-18 in the second.

The Matadors then won the next three matches and the extra, 22-20 and 21-18 in No. 3, 21-10 and 21-5 in No. 4, 21-11, 21-15 in the extra.

After being swept by Bakersfield last season, assistant coach Noelle Rooke said she couldn’t be prouder of the team’s performance.

“They enacted their revenge from last year,” she said. “It was a collective win; the fact that they beat this team in the first game.”

Freshman Kamden Maas said the Matadors made sure to prepare themselves both mentally and physically in order compete.

“For this game specifically, we couldn’t watch any film so we had to mentally prepare and visualize ourselves, and make sure we have control,” she said.

Rooke said the team spent a lot of time on the sand and thinks that the harder they work, the more prepared they’ll be.

Maas, paired up with sophomore Nada Dragovic, was able to keep freshman Kayla Tinker and junior Kortney Freeland to only 10 and five points.

Although Maas was happy with the result of game one, she said the expectations for this season go beyond just winning.

“A lot of people see us as an indoor team that plays sand,” Maas said. “This shows the other schools that we are here to play volleyball regardless of which one.”

I’m looking forward to giving [sand] a good reputation and making sure that CSUN starts out on a great foot.”

Coach Jeff Stork said he expects his team to be competitive against schools who are original sand teams and that it’s not just about wins and losses.

“There’s a physical component that we look at as far as developing a volleyball player for the indoor game,” said Stork. “But there’s also the understanding of being a good beach player.”

“They are turning the corner of understanding the game better and playing under those conditions,” he said.

CSUN will play four exhibition games against Community Colleges: Ventura, El Camino, Pierce and Santa Barbara on Saturday and Sunday at home.

Maas said she hopes those games will not only help to involve the community but also to work out partnerships and kinks so that the team works more fluidly.


Matadors men’s volleyball storms back to Shock Penn State

FILE PHOTO - CSUN finished their season by defeating UC San Diego in straight sets. (David J. Hawkins/The Sundial)

CSUN stormed back after dropping the first set to defeat the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions in State College, Pennsylvania on Friday night.

The Matadors have had a difficult time on the road leading up to this game, losing five of their six games including their last three overall.

They showed resilience, however, fighting back against Penn State to take the match on a tough opponent’s floor. The win for CSUN marked only the second time the Nittany Lions have been defeated on their home court this season.

After dropping the first set 25-20, the Matadors worked hard to win the next three sets and take the match, including a dramatic back and forth second set. CSUN trailed by scores of 6-10, 7-12, and 9-13 before shocking Penn State and winning the set. The Matadors never had a lead larger than two points in the second set, but in the end it was all they needed. After a final serve from junior outside hitter Jakub Ciesla, the Nittany Lions committed an attacking error to cap the Matadors’ come back.

Ciesla led the Matadors with 19 kills (.203) and three aces, while also playing a solid defensive game with ten digs.

CSUN appeared to feed off the momentum from their epic second set victory on their way to winning the third set by another close score, 25-23. Freshman outside hitter Dimitar Kalchev ended the set emphatically with a service ace and the night with 16 kills (.250), and added two more aces to bring his team-leading season total to 39.

By the fourth set the Matadors had the win in their sights, taking leads of 16-13, 22-16 and 24-19 before taking the set 25-21 and the match 3-1. Junior outside hitter Bradley Sakaida had four kills in the set, including the final point, and one ace. Sakaida finished with nine total kills (.444), 10 digs, and one service ace.

CSUN finishes their road trip tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time against the University of Mount Olive.

HB3 Reports Ep. 3

Harry Bennett III and special guest Clayton Cozzitorto discuss Western Conference match ups, where the Lakers stand this offseason, and who has the edge come Opening Day.

Art therapy classes aim to relieve stress, relax the body and mind

CSUN art faculty Fabia Panjarian instructs art major Richere Barbeau, 21, in the Contemplation Garden of the Oasis Wellness Center, Wednesday, Jan. 27. Panjarian is teaching a series of classes designed to relieve stress and test anxiety for CSUN students. Photo credit: Max Zeronian

Each Wednesday this semester, CSUN students are encouraged to participate in art therapy classes at the Oasis Wellness Center. The sessions, held in the Contemplation Garden and led by part-time lecturer Fabia Panjarian, are designed to help relieve students of stress through projects designed to exercise both sides of the brain.

“According to Dr. Betty Edwards’ extensive research, in most of us, the right hemisphere, which is more imaginative and intuitive, is taken over by the more linear and rational left hemisphere,” Panjarian said.

Typically, the right side of the brain is responsible for tasks pertaining to the production or performance of art. This side also deals with creativity. The left side of the brain is responsible for decisions relating to logic, such as science and mathematics.

“The art workshops I lead at the Oasis encourage creativity and self-expression in a stress-free setting,” Panjarian said.

Panjarian designed the therapy courses at the wellness center to work both sides of the brain. By giving students an art project where geometric shapes are used, the left side is exercised and students begin to lose track of time. Students will be able to keep their projects after each session.

“I benefit from the art therapy sessions because it allows me to be calm and relaxed during stressful times at school and in my personal life,” art major Richere Barbeau, 21, said.

According to Panjarian, the projects are geared toward the beginning artist, but those more experienced will find the work beneficial as well. Materials used are simple, and those in the class have the freedom to move about the garden.

The process of making art is naturally soothing, but the projects are designed specifically to relieve stress for those doing them, including the instructor, Panjarian said.

The Oasis Wellness Center describes the setting as being designed with relaxation in mind. Sessions take place in the Contemplation Garden, behind the labyrinth, where students are immersed in a garden — free of electronic distractions. Along with the botanical wellness built into the center, students will find West African wisdom symbols and zentangle designs to calm the body and mind.

The classes will run until May 4. Students can register by going to the Oasis website within 24 hours of the start of the class, which runs from 1–2:30 p.m.