All posts filed under: Features

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Starbucks Union

Hayley Palmore, a grad student in the School of Social Work and a shift supervisor at Amos Hall, said she used to love working for Starbucks, but recent changes have made it difficult for her to work for the store. That’s why she’s choosing to unionize.  “’I’ve been working for Starbucks since like 2017, and I’ve just seen how all of the changes that have been made with the company have negatively impacted us as partners,” Palmore said. “I’ve seen how difficult it’s been to work for Starbucks. The working conditions have made it really hard to love the job, like I honestly used to really like it.” The Amos Hall and Craig St. Starbucks locations formally petitioned to unionize on March 4. They are attempting to become the second location in Pittsburgh, and in the state, to unionize. In a letter to Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, workers at the locations noted issues they had with the company and were petitioning to unionize. The letter was signed by almost 60 employees — many of whom …

Burnout or Something More? A Study of Burnout in Pitt Students and How Pitt Treats Mental Health

Finals season is upon us. Students can be seen bustling from building to building through the blustery April weather, going from class to class. One individual steps out of their 4 p.m. physics class, their eyelids drooping over their bloodshot eyes. They shuffle through their bag for their notebook as they head toward the library to study for their upcoming final. This is their second day straight without sleep, and they have forgotten dinner again.  As we head into the most stressful point of the semester, so many things can be overlooked, especially mental health. Hobbies, physical activity, and other aspects that contribute to mental wellness are pushed to the side as students focus intensely on academics. As a result of this ongoing, ever-increasing amount of work that is put on students, it’s almost inevitable that stress evolves into burnout. However, since everyone experiences life differently, how can we pinpoint what burnout truly is? To try and answer this question, several University of Pittsburgh students shared what their experience with burnout was like. Not surprisingly, …

Where’s the Humanity in STEM?

Humanity— it’s a word we use to describe our innate ability for love, compassion, and the arts— but when did humans actually develop these characteristics? Did it begin with our logical, rational brains, developed once the gift of our opposable thumbs helped our ancestors to make spearheads? Travel back in time to the Paleolithic era, where we see the first instance of what we would recognize as art made by our ancient human ancestors on cave walls. Paleontologists and ancient anthropologists alike argue over the theory of what sparked modern human behavior. What was the start of humanity as we know it, and why does our perception of humanity seem to be changing?

Best Bang for Your Buck: Oakland Edition

You’ve heard the debates about which fast food chain has the best fries, which gas station is better: Sheetz or Wawa, or even where to get the best pizza , but have you ever heard of the Oakland restaurant debate? Where are the best places to eat in Oakland, the home of the University of Pittsburgh, and what makes them so special? Students from far and near at the University of Pittsburgh, depending on their own perspectives and opinions, had a lot to say about what restaurants were top-tier. Restaurants in Oakland come in all different shapes and sizes. Take Bao, which is located on Atwood St., for example. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant with amazing food, as described by Phoebe Appel, a junior majoring in legal studies. “It’s like a secret little gift I forgot to open,” Appel laughed. “It’s so unsuspecting, but you go in and there’s tables, nice lighting, and a really great staff, too.” Appel has studied at Pitt since August 2019, and only lived  a short fifteen minutes from campus …

Robots & Cybersecurity: Oakland Observer’s Jared Gessler Interviews Dr. Kevin J. Slonka

Dr. Kevin J. Slonka is a Professor of Information Technology at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He previously taught at multiple universities in Western Pennsylvania and agreed to join us today to give an opinion and some insight on robotics and computer science in the local area. I spoke with him over Zoom about the incorporation of robots into everyday life, beginning steps with programming and robotics, and additional fields that could be taken into consideration. Jared Gessler: So I’m with Dr. Kevin J. Slonka. What do you teach here at the school specifically? Dr. Kevin J. Slonka: I’m an IT professor and my specialty is cybersecurity. Gessler: Alright, sounds good. So, I have an interest in robotics and computer science. And for this class instead of writing a journal, I was given permission to do an interview. Just a quick one. And I figured I would just ask around for similar fields, such as IT, or maybe programming and just get some opinions on some of the questions we have today. So, to …

Versatili-tea

According to Chinese legend, in 5732 B.C., Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when a leaf landed in his pot of boiling water. The pleasant scent it created made the Emperor curious enough to try drinking this hot leaf juice. It gave the emperor a warm feeling that inspired his further study of the drink and influenced his conclusion in its medicinal abilities. While not a recommendable replacement for modern-day medicines, tea can offer a wide range of benefits from stimulation to stress relief, reducing the risk of heart disease to supporting the immune system. In order to find the right tea for the right objective, a little knowledge of the different types of teas can be a great help. As a former barista and avid tea drinker and brewer, I know a few things that can help point people in the right direction. Black & White & Green Teas The leaf that landed in Shen Nung’s pot would have been that of the Camellia sinensis shrub, a plant native to China and India. To tea …