Is The “American Dream” Really A Dream If It’s Taken?

The past year’s election stirred up a lot of negative attention towards immigration in the United States. However, if it was not for the hard work and talent of many immigrants this country would not have half of the things it does now.

Based on an article from Business Insider, here are some examples of how immigrants have impacted America:


  1. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was born in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated here when he was 6 years old. Brin has an estimated worth of $24.4 billion.
  2. Do Won Chang, co-founder and CEO of Forever 21, moved here with his wife from Korea in 1981. Before Forever 21, Do Won worked as a janitor and gas station attendant. Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire, that brings in around $3 billion in sales a year.
  3. Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C. and Flex-N-Gate, moved to the U.S. from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan is the richest American of Pakistani origin and one of the richest people in the world.
  4. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and founder of PayPal. Grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and became an American citizen in 2002. Musk has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion.
  5. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He moved to America when he was 8 years old, while only knowing one word of English. Yang has an estimated net worth of $1.15 billion.


Millions of people come to this country with hardly anything to offer, but they work hard to achieve the “American Dream.” The people mentioned above make me proud to have such a diverse and successful country, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.

The DACA program has been rolled back by Trump, which has directly impacted around 1.8 million DREAMers. People under the DACA program will no longer be able to renew their licenses to work legally in the U.S., which blocks them from being successful and contributing to this country. As a nation founded and built off of immigrants, I find this a little hypocritical.

Earlier this year, the Delta Iota chapter of Sigma Kappa at Chico State, was notified by our president that a fellow Sigma Kappa sister from MIT was blocked from getting back to school due to the travel ban. After hearing about something so disheartening, I began to feel embarrassed for our country.

Niki Mossafer Rahmati is a mechanical engineering major at MIT and served as the executive vice president for the Theta Lambda chapter last year at MIT. Originally from Iran, Niki holds a multiple entry student visa so she could go to school.

She is a hardworking students who is a member of a nationally recognized organization, and yet her origin was the ONLY thing that mattered when she was blocked from getting on a Boston bound flight.

Niki’s story is just one of hundreds that go unrecognized everyday. Hopefully this country can come together and take pride in our diversity, sooner rather than later. I mean, in all reality what would this country really be without immigrants?

5 Tips On How To Snap The Best Pic

In photography composition is key. Placing your subject, using certain colors, and picking the right background helps your picture look the most professional it can be. The subject of your photo is the most important part to make clear and draw the audience’s attention to. Because the subject is the reason you are taking the picture, it should clearly be in focus. Here are some tips on how to lead your audience’s eye to the subject and make your picture stand out among the rest.

Tip # 1
Leading Lines: Use lines to lead to your subject, a specific part of the frame, or a vanishing point in the background of the frame. People’s eyes naturally like to follow lines.

Tip # 2
Rule of thirds: Divide your frame into two horizontal lines and two vertical lines equally. The important elements in your picture should be placed along one of those lines instead of in the center of the picture. An off-center picture is more pleasing to the eye.

Tip # 3
Complementary colors: Every color has an opposite on the color wheel that compliments it the best and has the strongest contrast when put next to each other. Use colors that compliment each other and make the other color stand out. For example, red is the complementary color and opposite of green.

Tip # 4
Framing: When placing your subject in a photo, proper framing can really make your subject stand out. Using structures, windows, door frames, light etc. to crop around your subject work well to guide the viewer’s eye toward the subject.

Tip # 5
Rule of Odds: Always use an odd number of subjects when working with more than one subject. This gives the picture more harmony and balance visually.

Your composition can make or break your photo,so next time you are about to snap a picture keep these compositional tips in mind. Play around with these tips and watch your photography skills grow! Happy snapping!



Megan McCourtAccount Supervisor, PPR Worldwide

Former Tehama Group Communications Editorial Director and General Manager, 2010-2011

It’s nearing that time of the year where graduating students frantically polish their resumes, spend hours online searching for that dream first job and, if others are like me, practice interviewing for hours in front of the bathroom mirror.

Wanting to move to New York, I reached out to two Tehama Group Communications alumnae to learn about their current experiences in public relations and the Big Apple.


After TGC

As an Account Supervisor at PPR Worldwide, Dell’s agency of record, McCourt supports a number of executives by managing their speaking opportunities, writing their contributed content and drafting most of their remarks, from social media to speeches. She also heads the global brand team, which embodies Dell’s efforts around entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and diversity/inclusion.

One of the main components of her job is advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs.

I’m helping to change government policy, raise awareness, get more capital into the hands of female entrepreneurs, and provide women with the networks and resources they need to be successful,” McCourt said.

One of her achievements is helping launch an open letter to the presidential candidates a week before the 2016 election. Since the letter launch, she is now working with the new administration and the Small Business Administration to see their ideas put into action.

New York: Rodents, rejection and beauty

McCourt is approaching her four-year anniversary of living in New York and her insight on the city is one that TV does not portray.

“I’m not going to sugar coat it: life in New York is not always easy, but it’s worth it,” McCourt said. “Unless you’re backed by the bank of mom and dad, you’re probably going to live in a tiny, shared apartment; have to deal with bugs and rodents; face numerous rejections (for jobs, dates, apartments); and deal with the weather (sweltering in the summer, freezing in the winter).”

Although that seems far from ideal, New York has much more to offer– a variety of entertainment, a diverse global culture and architecture one would only think about in their dreams. Not only that, but even those on a budget can enjoy big city luxuries on a small town budget.

“There’s always cheap eats and free activities, which is why so many people can skirt by on internships and low-paying gigs,” McCourt said.

Graduating? Start networking

McCourt’s advice to students looking to get their start in PR was simple– leverage your network.

“Almost every job I’ve had came through my extended network,” McCourt said.

McCourt recommends informational interviews for companies you want to work for, buying coffee for those you know who work in communications and not being afraid to ask someone you know to set you up with someone who can be beneficial for you.

Your network is the best tool you’ll have for the rest of your life– start growing it now!”

Stephanie BurkeSenior Account Executive, Highwire PR

Former Tehama Group Communications Account Executive and Social Media Assistant, 2012

Intern to full-time

Burke began her public relations career by accepting an internship at Highwire PR in San Francisco after graduation in 2013. After completion of her six-month internship she was hired on as an account associate.

“The transition from an intern to an account associate is one of the most exciting transitions you can make,” Burke recalls.

Burke explained that interns at Highwire are fully integrated into teams and have client-facing roles. Moving forward as an account associate offered more media, content and planning opportunities. One of the new roles and challenges Burke faced was mentoring interns.

It’s a great time to think about the mentorship you valued as an intern and pass it on to the next generation,” Burke said.


Since her first promotion at Highwire in 2013, she has been promoted two other times. She moved to New York in 2014 and was promoted to account executive and in 2015 was promoted to senior account executive. Today her job roles include media relations, client management, different PR writing and general agency operations such as writing for the company blog.

“You can think of an SAE as the account management’s right hand, always there to help guide the team and execute on key initiatives for the client,” Burke said.

City by the Bay vs. City of Dreams

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates New York employs 21,740 people in the public relations field, whereas San Francisco employs 3,640 public relations specialists. However, Burke believes more media is flocking to San Francisco due to tech. Regardless of the new media scene in San Francisco, New Yorkers still have an advantage to those in San Francisco.

“The news breaks in EST. New York PR professionals have the advantage of seeing the news first versus our San Francisco friends who have to wake up a bit earlier to catch the first headline,” Burke said.

Get reading graduates!

A major aspect of public relations is media relations. Reading and watching the news can differentiate you from the crowd. Burkes advice to graduating students is to do such.

Clients want to know how to be on the cover of Forbes and what it takes to join the Good Morning America crew for a segment,” Burke said. “It’s important to understand what makes a good story for these outlets and who their audience is.”

Photos courtesy of Megan McCourt and Stephanie Burke

Written  by Benjamin Liwanag 

A Quick Guide to Shooting Travel Photography


Nevada Night Sky
Long Exposure of the Nevada night sky

People go on vacation and take pictures. It’s what you do. It’s simply what vacationers do when they travel to exotic, never before seen places. Photography is an amazing phenomenon that we take for granted in the 21st century. The way we are able to harness a memory by simply capturing a blend of light and color with a machine is truly amazing.

However, there are instances when this miracle of capturing light, falls short of our desires and expectations. Follow me on a short magic carpet ride through some tips that I have gathered in my travels around the world.

Budapest Bath House
Sunset over Budapest Bath House on Christmas Eve.

Traveling and shooting photos go hand in hand. Not only does it compliment your Hawaiian shirt and fanny pack, but it immediately pegs you as a tourist.

No. 1, accept the fact that you’re a tourist and embrace it with grace and intelligence. If someone throws you a skeptical eye, keep snapping on, but be smart and hold yourself with a certain level of discretion. You’re not going to buy the traditional garments of every nation to blend in, so you might as well avoid the headache trying enjoy documenting your experience. However there are some exceptions, which leads me to tip No. 2.

Israel Soldier
Tay Dayborg from Israel, at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem

This point segues to my next tip. It’s a simple one. Several years ago, I was on the beautiful island of Sicily, Italy taking photos around a rustic, dust filled neighborhood. On the corner were two men drinking coffee. Not thinking anything bad of the calm situation. I snapped a quick photo of one of the men who happened to be looking my way just as I took the photo. Instantly he got up and walked toward me. A bit startled, I quickly erased the photo before he arrived. When he approached me I saw he was holding out his hand, he wanted money for the photo. I explained that it was gone and that he had nothing to fear. Nonetheless, he watched me intently as I scrolled through every single photo I had on the camera. Tip No. 3, if you get caught taking a photo of someone you shouldn’t be, erase it or give the subject of the photograph what they want in order for them to be happy.

Tip No. 4, pay attention to your surroundings. Look everywhere from every angle, you never know what could be waiting for you in the distance just a few feet away you. Timing is crucial. A moment in time is lost forever if you are not actively looking for it. This goes for foreground and background as well. Understand the dynamics of your depth of field and move to the best spot within your environment. By positioning yourself at just the right place, you can truly have your picture follow speak a thousand words.

Abhi Sarkar
Abhi Sarkar from Santa Barbara, at Moab National Park.

Tip No. 5, call a friend’s name at the right moment for a dynamic candid. People look their best when they are doing something that they love or truly inspires someone. See your friend staring out over a beautiful landscape? Get your camera ready, call their name and snap the photo before they realize what just happened. I find that catching people with their guard down produces some of the most engaging photos. Often, people lost in thought seem to stare right into the camera with such intensity that I feel as though they can see my very soul. The feeling is contagious, yet hard to pull off consistently. Keep practicing, who knows what you will find within the eyes of someone you thought you knew.

Marian Amira
Marian Amira Jonjo hailing from London, England, “caught” at the Marin Headlands.

When traveling, be respectful and mindful of where you are to the best of your ability. Enjoy your privilege as a photographer; heft that clunky camera around with pride. Use this machine wisely, knowing that not everyone can have the same opportunity as you to document the beauty of life. Keep on snappin’.

*All photos taken by Trevor Raven Foster, All rights reserved*

Written by Trevor Foster, Videographer/Photographer

Study Abroad and Job Outlook – How to leverage your study abroad experience in an interview to land the position

Anyone who studied abroad knows the experience is truly life-changing. Living and studying abroad helps you develop and test your abilities on the deepest level.

Although studying abroad is an incredible life experience, very few U.S. college students are able to make the trip. Only 1 percent of U.S. students studied abroad during the 2012 to 2013 academic year. This is understandable, considering the potential cost and time commitment of studying abroad.

Since so few students have the opportunity to study abroad, this experience can be a great resume booster or an additional area to draw upon when answering interview questions.

Resume Essentials
Although study abroad experience makes you more marketable in the U.S., you must communicate the experience on paper as it pertains to a job you want.

Some things to highlight on your resume about your study abroad experience include:

  •      Language skills. It’s one thing to have studied a language for several years, and another to have actually lived in a country that speaks the language. Even if you went to another English-speaking country, familiarity with different sayings or spellings can be helpful when marketing yourself.
  •        Global work/internship/volunteer experience. There is a common misconception that studying abroad is actually partying abroad. It is easiest to battle this stigma by showing that you have actual work or volunteer experience during your time abroad. Additionally, this is a good way to show that you are passionate about getting involved and immersing yourself in the local culture.
  •        Blogging experience. Study abroad blogs are great for multiple reasons. Not only do you have the chance to chronicle your experiences and growth, but a blog is the perfect opportunity to show your personality to potential employers. Including your blog on your resume allows employers to get to know your personality and assess your writing skills.

Interview Success
Making yourself look good on paper and then delivering on that in an interview are two very different skillsets. After you land an interview, it is important to review key points you would like to emphasize about yourself as an applicant.

This is another great opportunity to incorporate your study abroad experience, and expand on points you may or may not have included in your resume.
In particular, try to:

  •       Emphasize your adaptability. It is not easy to move across the globe and adjust to a completely different culture. It is important to mention how you were able to adjust to the changing environment and work with a diverse range of new people..
  •        Connect your experience with the company. Many companies operate internationally. With appropriate background research on the company you are interviewing with, you can find potential ways to connect your study abroad location with one of the company’s locations or clients. Someone interviewing you may even have travelled to that same location, and that is an easy way to build a lasting bond.
  •      Focus on your accomplishments. Studying abroad is full of challenges, and interviewers love to hear that candidates are able to overcome problems. When possible, turn a struggle into an accomplishment to convey your perseverance.


Infographic Credit: Course Hero

by Alek Irvin, account executive

A Taste of the Philippines

adoboFilipino food is probably something you’ve never heard of, let alone tried. Luckily for me, growing up as a Filipino-American, I was able to enjoy many Filipino dishes. Filipino food has traces of Spanish and Chinese food, but ultimately has its own island feel that can only be attributed to the Philippines. The Philippines are made up of more than 7,100 islands, so the ocean has a heavy influence on the cuisine, not only with the inclusion of fish and shellfish, but also ingredients such as shrimp paste. However Filipino food is not limited to seafood, but pork, chicken and beef are also common ingredients. The food of the Philippines is full of variety, but rice is the one constant ingredient and is usually served on the side. Filipinos care a lot about food, and all meals are made “family style” to be shared with others. If you visit a Filipino’s home you can be sure you will not leave hungry.

Despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian group in the United States, Filipino cuisine has not become as mainstream as Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese. However, you may have seen it on shows such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

As someone that loves to cook I’ve spent a lot of time working on my Filipino dishes, specifically trying to recreate the delicious meals made by my family members. Filipino cooking is not an exact science, and everyone has their own way of preparing, cooking and eating Filipino food. It is about creativity, and finding the flavors that you love.

To have your own taste of the Philippines, here is my recipe for Adobo Baboy for you to try. Adobo Baboy is one of the most common dishes in the Philippines, made of meat stewed in garlic, vinegar, pepper and soy sauce.  Feel free to follow this relatively simple recipe to the letter, or change it up to make it your own. Most importantly, make sure you invite some friends and family to share it with!

Adobo Baboy

2 pounds    Boneless pork spareribs, 1 inch, cubed

7 pieces    Garlic, crushed

2         Bay leaves

½ tablespoon     Peppercorn, crushed

6 tablespoon     Soy sauce

6 tablespoon     Vinegar

1 cup         Water

¼ teaspoon    Vegetable oil

  1. In a medium-sized pot heat oil over medium heat
  2. Add pork ribs and crushed garlic. Stir constantly until meat is browned.
  3. When pork ribs are browned add soy sauce, water, peppercorns and bay leaves and bring to a boil
  4. Lower heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Serve with steamed rice

by Jason Balangue, graphic designer

Escape From Reality

Photo credit: Julianna Young
Photo credit: Julianna Young


Photo Credit: Julianna Young
Photo Credit: Julianna Young

When my friend suggested a trip to the Sea Ranch, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I soon discovered it to be nothing like I had ever imagined. It proved to be one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been.

Located 100 miles north of San Francisco, the treacherous drive to the Sea Ranch takes about five hours from Chico. However, it’s said to be one of the most picturesque, drives in the world.

The Sea Ranch started in the late 60′s and early 70′s and was established as an Eco-friendly community with hopes of preserving the area’s natural beauty, while blending architecture and nature. Current residents of the Sea Ranch strive to live like the early inhabits, the Pomo Indians who believed in “living lightly on the land.”

My boyfriend and I rented a home called The Wave for the weekend, its curved roof and unique design is meant to resemble an ocean wave crashing onto the shore. There are many other unique homes in the area. Such as the fantasy inspired, Hobbit House located in the redwood forest.

Tons of wildlife roam the area. In the morning, we were woken up by a noisy flock of sheep grazing right outside the window. I couldn’t help but to think to myself, “I’m definitely not in Chico anymore.” The Sea Ranch feels like a land that no one else knows about. There is nothing around for miles, ensuring a relaxed weekend. Lucky for us, the weather was incredible during our visit; we spent the days wandering the beach, exploring the trails and scenic views.

Photo credit: Julianna Young, Annapolis Winery
Photo credit: Julianna Young, Annapolis Winery

We even discovered a local winery called the Annapolis winery, where we were able to enjoy a complimentary tasting, courtesy of the owner.

In the evenings, we made dinner, watched movies and enjoyed the sunset and ocean view from the comfort of the Jacuzzi. When it finally came time for us to go, my heart sank. I wished I could have stayed longer, but I have a feeling I’ll be back…

 If you’re looking to get away, relax and unwind, the Sea Ranch is the perfect place for a sweet escape.

Photo credit: Ralph Cruz
Photo credit: Ralph Cruz




A Well Deserved Vacation Abroad

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
-Saint Augustine

Whether it’s at the end of this semester or in the fall, graduation is quickly approaching for seniors. This can be an overwhelming thought that most students, including myself, are reminded of on a regular basis.

We’ve been in school for most of our lives and now after the long hours and perseverance this chapter is finally coming to an end.

One of the main purposes of college is to prepare for a (hopefully) well-paying satisfying job, but most jobs will be full-time and last for the majority of our lives.

Before jumping into a full-time career, one option is to take some time to travel abroad after graduating.

Traveling is a great way to experience different ideas, new people, create lasting memories and relax with friends and family after working hard to earn a degree.

As we’ve probably all heard before, the best time to travel is when we’re young.

People usually don’t have as many responsibilities as they would once they have a career, start a long-term relationship and possibly have children, which makes it easier to take some time to explore.

Even if you plan on attending graduate school or already have a job lined up after graduating, taking some time to visit another country is very doable and rewarding.

The expense of traveling can be intimidating, especially for recent graduates, but it is possible to find hotels within your budget on a country’s tourism website in locations that still offer an incredible experience.

While popular countries in Europe such as England, France and Italy are generally thought of for traveling abroad after college, there are other locations that are sometimes overlooked.

Whether you’re interested in relaxing by the beach or exploring the history and culture of a new place, here are some alternative  countries that offer beautiful views and memorable experiences:


This Southeast Asian country has a tropical climate, fascinating culture and history, and offers a variety of hotels ranging in prices. Thailand’s capital is near the coast and many popular beaches, which is perfect for a relaxing trip with friends or family.

May through August is the tourist-friendly country’s off-peak season, which offers the cheapest prices.


Whether you’d like to explore the history of the capital, Athens, or visit one of the 227 inhabited islands, Greece is a great place to visit.

Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson, Creative Commons
Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson, Creative Commons, Original Photo

Because of the country’s location and clear waters; water sports such as boating, wind surfing and water-skiing are very popular on the coast and the islands.


Brazil offers the chance to explore the Amazon, visit famous cities such as Rio de Janeiro and enjoy Brazilian cuisine and culture.

The country is well-known for its Carnival festival in February, which is a week-long celebration before Lent that includes parades, music and colorful costumes.

Happy safe travels.

Make the Most of Your Time Abroad

After years of getting dragged along with my parents to vacations they planned, I decided to see the world on my own terms through the study abroad program at Chico State. For two months I lived in an apartment in the south of Spain before I backpacked across Europe for three weeks.

palace in Spain
Palace in Spain – Photo credit: Stephanie Geske

Here are my tips for studying abroad:

1. Don’t let a language barrier stop you.

I chose Spain for the weather and classes offered even though I didn’t remember the two years of elementary Spanish I took in high school. With the help of my friends, an iPhone translation app and a pocket dictionary, I managed just fine.

2. Realize you will get lost, and that’s OK.

In Paris my friend and I wandered around looking for our tour bus for two hours. Even when I was miserable, sweaty and frustrated I kept saying, “A day lost in Paris is better than a day anywhere else!” Eventually we found the bus, and the hours we wandered around aren’t even what comes to my mind when I think back to Paris.

3. Create a budget plan and stick to it.

Anyone with a credit card knows how easy it is to swipe without keeping track of the money spent. Figure out the cost of living and then allot money for groceries, drinks and weekend travel so you don’t wind up completely broke before you go home.

4. Go for the length of time that’s right for you.

I would have loved to study abroad for a semester or even a year, but graduating in four years with a double major means a heavy course load each semester. There are programs that go for one or two sessions over summer, and even a few weeks over winter break. Always check with your advisor before going abroad so you can see how many classes can transfer back for credit towards your major or minor.

5. Embrace local customs.

There will be plenty of new things that will contribute to culture shock: cheek kisses, dinners that don’t start until 10 p.m. and no personal space on public transportation. But that’s all part of the fun! My favorite new custom is the Spanish siesta.

Oh, and if you’re going in for the double cheek kiss, turn your face to the left first.

[vimeo 74697195 w=500 h=281]

Europe 2013 from Stephanie Geske on Vimeo.

Vacationing on a Budget

With summer in full swing and then end of the semester quickly approaching, it’s hard not to begin thinking about summer plans. And if you’re like me, it may be the only thing keeping you motivated through the last few weeks of school.

Here are a few ideas for fun and affordable weekend getaways that will be great for the summer or any other time you’re in need of some rest and relaxation.

1. Adventure Outings Yurt in Lassen National Forest.

I will admit I’m not too fond of camping, which is unfortunate because it’s a great way to get in touch with nature and is the best way to save cash if you’re vacationing on a tight budget. I like being outdoors, having bonfires and hiking but I’m not so excited about sleeping on the ground, not showering and feeling like I might get eaten by a bear in the middle of the night.

This option is perfect for someone like me, who may be weary of the camping scene. A yurt is basically a wooden hut. You don’t need to set it up, and it comes with a wood stove to keep you warm. This provides an upgrade to the traditional camping experience. You still be at one with nature, but with a little extra luxury. The yurt is available through Adventure Outings at $50 a night, and is located in Lassen National Forest near Butte Meadows.

2. Aptos, Calif.

If you’re more into a beach scene, one of my favorite places to go is Aptos, Calif. It is the best getaway for a low-key and relaxing trip. Aptos is a small town about 20 minutes south of Santa Cruz. You have access to the Rio Del Mar Beach and other than that, what could you really need? Just relax and enjoy the sun!

If you’re looking for more activity however, you are just a short drive away from Santa Cruz, which has the Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Pacific Garden Mall and more beaches!

3. Vacation Rental by Owner

While this option is not exactly a place, it gives you the ability to go just about anywhere, with a large variety in prices and amenities.

VRBO or Vacation Rental by Owner is a website that allows people to put their homes up for rent; some are homes that are regularly rented out or maybe someone who is going away for the weekend. This option is perfect for the college student on a budget or if you’re just not quite sure where to vacation.

The other benefits of vacationing this way are more privacy, a fully furnished home and a vacation rental catered to you. You can search for rentals based on if they have a beach view, pool, are pet friendly and so on. There is something to please every person and listings as low as $40 a night!