And the Oscar Goes To…

Lights. Camera. Biology? As exams kicked into high gear on Apr. 20, one class took a dynamic approach to finals week. Sections CA01 and CA02 of Biochemistry, under the tutelage of Dr. Sergiy Borysov, participated in the first Bio-Oscars awards ceremony/final project of the 2017 semester.

The students had one month to tackle randomly assigned topics and explain the subject matters in a lively way. The performances culminated in an epic display of cinematography that would rival the presentations of Theatre Majors at Saint Leo University.

Borysov opened the event with a rousing round of applause (Computer generated) which was supplemented by the students who did not expect a display of such magnitude. Borysov was immaculately dressed from head to toe adorned in formal black and white attire, including bow ties. The whiteboards were designed with the phrases, “Best Movie,” “Best Actor/Actress,” and “Best Soundtrack.” Several gold-plated trophies lined the instructors table, which would be awarded to the participants based on their achievements. Borysov opened the period, by handing out slips of paper with several categories that the students would judge the films on. The audience was admonished not to vote for themselves but the best films in terms of soundtrack, best actor/actress and best overall film while he judged each movie for its scientific content and accuracy.

Junior and Biology Student Chidozie Igbonagwan, praised Dr. Borysov for his dynamic style of teaching.

“This event is a great undertaking as it employed the students creativity and ability to explain crucial topics in Biochemistry,” said Igbonagwan.

As most persons know, the sciences are very content heavy and require hours in and out of class time to achieve success. The students were able to take the key points of each topic and relate them within a ten-minute window successfully. There was dancing, running and even a few familiar melodious tones being sung. Amber Pimentel did one such performance. Pimentel sang songs to the tune of Disney’s Frozen while walking around the lab introducing equipment for her experiments. This brought smiles to the room as most of her peers didn’t know she sung so well.

The lighting of the room, coupled with the hilarious and energetic presentations, disarmed the nervousness associated with finals week. This was reinforced by the remarks of Cody Walker, who accepted the award for Best Film in Section CA02 with co-star Chogizie Igbonagwan.

“I am very nervous entering finals week but walking into this room and seeing Dr. Borysov, including what my classmates and I have produced in a non-traditional sense of testing gives me great relief!” Walker said.

Borysov reiterated that this was the type of event that he was looking forward to producing. An event that was non-traditional and also would ease the tensions of a chaotic semester filled with information.

The cinematic style and approach to finals week challenged the way students approached the rest of finals week in addition to giving them a much needed break. As iterated by Borysov, it continues to demonstrate core values of Saint Leo University by affording each individual to learn from their community, bring responsible stewards of the information we attain and the achievement of excellence.

Farewell Seniors

Starting on Apr. 25, Saint Leo University offered the class of 2017 one last hurrah. The much anticipated “Senior Week” offered up slew of events for departing seniors, all leading up to the graduation ceremonies on Apr. 28 and 29.

Throughout the week, seniors were invited to participate in some summer time activities, such as the annual senior vs. staff/faculty softball game and barbeque, graduation cap decorating, a pool party and pizza, senior bingo, and an all-night trip to Universal City Walk. Seniors were able to kick off their summer and pal around with friends one last time before grabbing their diplomas and continuing their lives beyond Leo.

During the week, Nicole Alvarez, graduating senior and cherished member of the Lions’ Pride Newspaper, reflected fondly on her time at the University.

“Four years ago, I applied to Saint Leo University not only because the campus and small class sizes appealed to me, but also I believed Saint Leo could provide me with something, and it has,” she said. “I am leaving Saint Leo with invaluable knowledge and memories that I will forever cherish and hold with me.”

Tampa Bay Coffee and Art Festival

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, The Noise Box hosted the Tampa Bay Coffee and Art Festival. A morning session was held at 11 am and another in the evening at 6 pm. The event featured 8 different coffee vendors, more than 20 artists, and about 7 different food trucks.

The Noise Box is a church in Brandon, FL and is no stranger to hosting community events. They have historically worked with local musicians, both Christian and Secular, to help support them.

The Coffee and Art festival was first hosted in April 2016. The goal was to educate the community about artisan coffee, to help support local artists by giving them a way to advertise and sell their work, and to raise money to support the Bay Area Foundation for the Arts, which, according to their website, “helps supports students and teachers who are serious about their art.”

Because The Noise Box didn’t expect that a ton of people would register for the event, they had to turn many people away and instead hosted a second Coffee and Art Festival in the fall of 2016 in order to accommodate everyone who was turned away from the first event.

The Noise Box promised that this year’s event would be bigger and better. They followed through with this by inviting more local artisan coffee vendors, more artists, and worked on advertising the event well ahead of time. The fruits of their efforts resulted in attendance of several hundred people between both sessions.

Tickets were sold before the event and at the door for a slightly increased price. Three tiers of tickets were sold. The first tier, dubbed “The Light Roast”, was a basic general admission ticket. The second tier, dubbed “The Medium Roast, included a T-Shirt, a coffee mug, a pen, and a cloth sack to hold everything in. The third tier, dubbed “The Dark Roast”, included everything the Medium Roast package had, plus a “Coffee Connection Pass,” which let the holder attend one of three events that showcased how to prepare coffee in the same way that professional baristas do.

The event took up both buildings and most of the main grounds of the church. The food trucks were parked outside and in the main parking lot, available before the doors opened to the main event, and charged regular prices for their food or coffee.

Once the doors opened, patrons had the ability to sample certain products from these food trucks, as well as have a chance to walk through and view artwork and crafts from different artists, craftspeople, and jewelers. Some different items for sale included coffee scented candles, walking sticks, and painted tiles.

The venue had designed the event to give off a very rustic atmosphere. Exposed wooden frames separated vendors and lights were strung across the frames, lighting up the area. Standing tables were set out for people to take a break at, and were set with centerpieces that matched the atmosphere, such as an antique cigar box.

“The event was great,” states Christina Moyer, a Junior at Saint Leo studying Religion and Education. “It was full of very diverse people from all walks of life.”

During the event, various local musicians took the stage to further set the mood of the event. While the music was overwhelmingly loud at times, there was always a place to go in the other building or outside to get away from it.

Many different types of coffee were available to be sampled from the different artisan vendors. Aside from the traditional Colombian coffee, samples of coffee from other countries, such as Honduras, Peru, and even Sumatra were available for tasting. There was even a vendor who handed out samples of coffee made from hemp seed extract, which they claimed increased memory, focus, and help with weight loss.

Overall, the event was a success. It brought in hundreds of patrons, raked in a lot of money for a good cause, and helped many local artists, artisans, and musicians get their name out there.

The Tampa Bay Coffee and Art Festival will return next spring, promising to be an even bigger and better experience.

Mental Health Issues Students Should Be Aware of for the Summer

mental illness picture

By: Tiffani Rees

Mental Health Disorders include a wide variety of conditions, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic attacks. These mental disorder, along with other mental disorders, that affect many types of people are more common in certain age groups and at certain times of the year.

For college students, the mental health issues affecting them the most are suicide and depression, stress and anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, self-injury (not limited to cutting), bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders/schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and sleep issues, according to a team of doctors on Some of these issues are what many of those at Saint Leo students are facing on campus.

“The most common issues students come to counseling services for are anxiety, depression, relationship issues (not limited to romantic relationships), and substance abuse. Stress and sleep issues are huge factors in dealing with issues as many people turn to substances to cope with stress and sleep issues,” said Tiffany Nelson, a counselor from Campus Counseling Services. “Some of the big differences between anxiety and depression are anxiety is someone dealing with fear, worry, and anxiety about the future, whereas depression is, at its purest, a low mood, lack of motivation, and loss of interest in things someone used to love.”

While all types of mental illnesses are possible in the summer, some are more common than others. The mental health issues to watch for in summer include ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD); although SAD is more common in the winter months, it is commonly called “reverse SAD” when it occurs in the summer months; and reverse SAD occurs in about 1 out of 10 cases, according to a mental health blog on

Other types of mental illnesses to watch for include agoraphobia, which is an abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is characterized initially often by panic or anticipatory anxiety and finally by the avoidance of open or public places, addictions, compulsions, and substance-related disorders, as well as any other mental illnesses that appear or worsen when the person is bored and not participating in anything.

“The most issues and situations that come up over the summer are family stressors, lack of structure and routine changes, and financial stressors in addition to the mental illnesses being present at any time of the year,” said Nelson.

The best ways for college students to reduce the effects of these mental illnesses during the summer are to seek out internships, jobs, volunteer opportunities, sports, exercise, continue to focus on educational goals and other short-term goals, and any other activity that will encourage the person to still remain a part of something and keep them on a structured schedule, according to a mental health blog on This structured schedule and inclusion in activities will help reduce the chance the person will be bored and turn to dangerous habits, as well as keep them focused and driven, and give them a sense of belonging to something.

“It is important for you to keep in contact with your doctors if you have a diagnosed mental illness, and to try to establish somewhat of a routine over the summer where you try to maintain somewhat of your normal routine so your sleep doesn’t get off schedule, invest in your relationships with friends whether it’s at school or at home, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you feel like you need help. If you’re living at home with parents, keep open and clear communication with them about what is expected so everybody can be less stressed and happier,” said Nelson.

While many of these suggestions could keep people inside instead of enjoying the nice weather and possibly lead to a worsening of conditions, it is important to utilize days off, weekends, and vacation days to have something to look forward to, a chance to enjoy nice weather, and to keep their mood elevated by doing things they enjoy.

Nelson explained, “If none of the above suggestions work for an individual suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above, it is a good idea for that person to visit a licensed medical professional such as a counselor or doctor, or a religious leader if they are spiritual, and be honest about what they are going through so they can get the help that they need.”

In some cases, medications may be suggested, though other cases could see improvement with new, healthy coping mechanisms for what they experience without the need for medication, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website,

Also, it is important to remember that there is not a single medication that will work for everybody, and it may take time to find what medication and what dosage work for the person prescribed the medication. While many people do not want to use medications, it is important for people who need them take them that they take regularly, as prescribed, and talk to their doctor before changing or discontinuing use of the medication. Nevertheless, coping with mental illness whether during the school year or during the summer, it is still important to take care one oneself.

According to Nelson, “The strategies for coping during the school year and during the summer are primarily the same, taking care of yourself, trying to get enough sleep, getting out and doing things you enjoy, trying to exercise and be healthy, and just generally take care of yourself.”

13 Reasons Why Review

“13 Reasons Why” is the most recent Netflix original series, based off the 2007 book “13 Reasons Why,” written by Jay Asher. The show is directed by Brian Yorkey and has a strong production cast; with the most well-known producer being, actress and musician, Selena Gomez.

The television series follows a group of teens who are all connected by a girl, one who committed suicide. The show mainly follows two characters throughout, being Clay Jensen and Hannah Baker. Clay Jensen is played by Dylan Minnette, known for his role in the 2015 movie “Goosebumps.” Minnette’s character goes through a roller-coaster of emotions while he is blackmailed to listen to tapes recorded by his late friend, Hannah Baker.

Hannah Baker, portrayed by Katherine Langford, talks through every moment that led up to her decision to commit suicide. Langford’s character gives two sets of tapes to a friend, and instructs that the tapes be passed down to every person on the tapes, or else they will be released to the public from an unknown source.

The characters are tied together through Hannah Baker’s tapes, straining their already rough high school experiences. The writing is very well scripted; every episode intertwined with the next, while keeping the audience in anticipation for the next character’s true personality to come to light.

The story behind every character ties the audience to each person differently, with there being either a surprise or disappointment after finding out why they are on the tapes. The actors

emit the character’s emotion through the silver screen and onto the audience, with their personas bouncing off one another.

The pilot episode begins with typical high school drama, with rumors swirling around the school concerning what Hannah Baker may or may not have done on a date with a popular jock. Every episode to follow builds upon each other, showing Hannah Baker’s cause to fall into such a deep depression. This could have easily slipped under an over-dramatized cliché series, but the plot escalates with very serious and realistic issues.

The show reveals the reality of what many high schoolers of both genders go through, allowing the audience to relate. There are disclaimers at the beginning of two episodes, warning the viewer to take caution while watching. There are several intense scenes concerning sexual assault and self-harm, that may cause triggers in certain viewers.

The original series is binge-worthy, and the viewer should set a lot of time out of their day to watch, due to its ability to capture the audience’s anticipation. The characters’ dynamics are clear through every episode, showing the casting producer’s success in casting correct actors for each personality.

“13 Reasons Why” receives 5 paws, meaning it is a must watch. The series is the next big Netflix original series that everyone will be talking about. However, it should only be watched by a mature audience, due to its graphic nature.

The Three Best and Three Worst Moments of Being a Sales Associate

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Illustration by: Emily Kochanski

Special to Lions’ Pride

By:  Cedric Blatch

Here’s a glimpse of what it is like to work in retail courtesy of your friendly neighborhood sales associate. It’s imperative that others (and specifically customers) finally understand the feelings of a sales associate; for those who have worked in retail, get those likes ready. As for those who have not—be prepared to find out the three best moments and the three not so best moments of being a sales associate.

Working in retail is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. It’s important everyone knows what it’s like to work in retail to understand the struggle of folding a table full of shirts and ten minutes later finding that same table has been massacred by ruthless customers. Folding a table full of shirts only to have them messed up is one of the worst things that can happen. In that moment, all hope is lost and dreams are truly crushed.

Also, a sales associate can spot a customer that has not worked in retail just by the way the customer shops and interacts with the merchandise in the store. It is the sales associate’s job to provide customers with the utmost customer service at all times. Customers often get tired of hearing “Hi, how are you? Anything I can help you with?” but what the customers fail to understand is that associates themselves are constantly being micromanaged.

Being micromanaged is beyond frustrating and is probably the second worst thing about being a sales associate. Customers affect a sales associate’s job but management is what also

makes associates frustrated doing their job. Constantly snooping around over employees’ shoulders and watching their every move is not an effective way of management; this is known as “babying to the tenth power.” Now, it’s not entirely managers’ fault for their constant checking; they too are also being micromanaged by the people in fancy suits, also known as corporate. The micromanaging is something that needs to change, but let’s be real, it won’t.

Cleaning up after customers is the last and absolute worst part about being a sales associate. It is simply one of the biggest nuisances one can handle. Some retail stores don’t have a merchandise limit for customers, limiting the articles of clothing they can take into the fitting room. It’s extremely sad how some customers leave the fitting rooms with twenty plus articles of clothing left behind for the associate to put away.

I remember this one particular day; I was not having a good day overall and a customer was trying on clothes in the fitting room I was watching. I was cleaning up my area making sure everything was clean so we could leave on time as we were about to close. The customer hears the closing announcement over the store intercom and begins to leave. At this moment, I am excited because I know I will be going home soon. Then everything took a turn for the absolute worst.

I check the fitting room the customer had just left and there are articles of clothing everywhere. There were about 10 shirts on the floor, eight different pants on the chair, along with dresses, and more shirts on the hangers. I was so close to leaving early but then I had to stay a little longer to help finish put the merchandise away. What made it even worse was that the customer only walked out with one shirt to buy. This was one of the worst nights during my retail tenure.

However, things aren’t always so bad in retail, there are some positive moments too. One of the best parts of working in retail is the flexible schedule. Managers in the retail world are very flexible when working with your schedule. The managers truly understand the importance of having a life outside of work and understand that things come up and sometimes calling out of work has to happen. It is one of the things I truly appreciate because the managers truly go out their way to work with you.

Another plus to working in retail is the satisfying impact one may have on a customer. When customers come into the store, naturally they will be fine on their own. Usually, there is that one customer that may need some extra help. Being able to help that customer find everything they are looking for and see a big smile on their face while they are thanking you is an amazing feeling.

This one day while I was working, it was a slow evening but I had a lot of cleaning up to do, a customer came in and said “Hi, can you help me? I’m going to see my ex-boyfriend and I need to look hot!” I laughed and offered my assistance by stopping the cleaning up I was doing. We spent about 40 minutes walking around putting together a plethora of outfits, then we finally found one she loved. She was beyond happy, her smile stretched from here to China. She was extremely appreciative and went even as far as to tell management about me helping her. It is a very rewarding feeling when a customer is satisfied after being helped.

Another great thing about being a sales associate is the discount that is offered for the desired store employed at. Every store is different but I believe that 20 percent off whenever is pretty awesome. The discount comes in handy while on a regularly scheduled shift, just walking around you get to shop at the same time. The discount helps out a lot when it is something that is really wanted and you forget about the discount you have and you are able to save a lot of


The things associates see on the daily are mind blowing and leave a puzzled look on their faces every day. The moral of the story here, working in retail has a lot of pros and cons. Everyone should try and understand what it’s like on the other side. Maybe one day we will run into each other at my store. If we do, don’t bring this up; I don’t want to get fired.

Vanishing Vaquitas

The vaquita faces a very real threat of extinction. Down to roughly 30 individuals, this native of the Gulf of California has dropped 90 percent in number due to poaching, according to The New York Times.

The New York Times explains that the vaquita are accidently caught in gillnets which target another endangered species, the totoaba fish. The New York Times elaborates why the toboata fish is endangered as well:“The fish’s swim bladder is dried and smuggled to China, were wealthy diners pay thousands of dollars for the delicacy, believing it to have medicinal powers.”

The main reason for the vaquita’s decline is the use of the gillnets, which are still legal in Mexico, according to the New York Times, and without a ban, conservationists warn that there is no hope to save the vaquita.

Dr. Laura Altfeld, an associate professor of biology and ecology at Saint Leo University, said, “The situation that the vaquitas face is extremely dire, given that their main source of mortality persists, they exist nowhere else in the world, their population is so small, and we don’t know how to fully care for them or breed them in captivity.”

Altfeld also said, “I am, of course, very disappointed about the substantial decline in vaquitas. These animals are unique and, much to their detriment, extremely restricted in their range. The severity of their decline, however, is not unusual even if the very short time span for the decline is.”

She explained that many other species, including Floridian animals, such as Florida panthers, burrowing owls, and loggerhead sea turtles, experience a continual decline due to human activities and land development.

“Until or unless we commit to conservation practices (if not from the start, then once we realize the need for them), then we will continue to witness such extinction events,” said Altfeld.

However, as the situation becomes increasingly desperate, conservationists will attempt to capture vaquitas and breed them in captivity until they reach a more stable number of individuals.

Earlier this month, the Mexican government said it would give 3 million USD to the cause for VaquitaCPR, which stands for conservation, protection, and recovery, according to Nature.

Also, according to The New York Times, the project plans to use Navy-trained dolphins to find the vaquitas to capture.

Randall Wells, from the Chicago Zoological society in Illinois, told Nature, “No one has ever tried to catch the vaquita to keep them alive… There is so much of this that is being done for the first time. It’s all high risk.”

According to Yahoo! News, the vaquita does not do well in captivity. However, while this is not the perfect solution, it seems to be the only chance the porpoises have in this desperate situation.

When asked if past successful conservation efforts could be applied to the vaquita’s endangerment, Altfeld responded,  “Activities that have worked for other species have included practices such as establishing refuges, or safe spaces where human activities are either prohibited or substantially reduced, modifying human activities to accommodate our and other species’ needs, education to make the plight of endangered species known to members of the public, and dedicating funding for ongoing research and monitoring  programs which can track changes in target populations over time. All of these options have been theoretically available for vaquita conservation over the decades since the discovery of this animal. At this point, however, it may just be too late.”