A Matter of Eating Right: “Every Day We Are Faced with Numerous Food Choices”

Katie Ferraro: "I want my students to have a more informed viewpoint of consumer nutrition."

Katie Ferraro: “I want my students to have a more informed viewpoint of consumer nutrition.”


Katie Ferraro readily admits she has a weakness for tortilla chips, a surprising admission for a registered dietitian who values the benefits of health and nutrition.

As she details below, smarter snack-food choices include eating more fresh fruit, nuts and low-fat dairy products. But a handful of tortilla chips need not be considered inherently evil.

In the bigger picture, it’s a matter of what, how often and when you eat – plus portion sizes — that tends to be most troublesome.

An assistant clinical professor at UC San Francisco and the University of San Diego, Ferraro is a UC San Diego Extension instructor in four current courses: Cultural Foods, Introduction to Nutrition Science, Nutrition Therapy for Healthcare Professionals, and Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle.

Formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, she graduated from Texas Christian University with graduate studies at UC Berkeley.

Amid her roles as a spokesperson, author, and nutrition consultant, her corporate clients include the California Avocado Commission, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Discovery Channel.

Ferraro’s keys to healthy nutrition are outlined within her website, Ingrain Health.

1) What’s the most important lesson you hope your students learn about nutrition?
I want my students to have a more informed viewpoint of consumer nutrition. My over-arching goal is to help them make more informed food and nutrition choices for themselves and their families.

2) How does the food we eat affect our everyday lives?
Nutrition plays a role in the development of four out of the top 10 killers of Americans. More than half of death in the U.S. each year is from diseases with a strong nutrition implication — either in the development or prevention of the condition. So the food choices you make today are affecting your health outcomes of tomorrow.

3) What is the most fulfilling aspect of teaching about nutrition science?
Food is relevant to everyone. Every day  we are faced with numerous food choices — and we have to eat to live. So in a way, the subject matter should be of interest to every human being who eats.

4) When did you first get interested in nutrition?
My mom is a self-employed registered dietitian and I was fascinated by her work. I also admired that it was a relatively female-dominated field and that you could have a family and run a nutrition business and be very rewarded in both your home and work lives.

5) What was your favorite thing to eat as a youngster?
Growing up in San Diego I feel fortunate to have been exposed to a variety of ethnic cuisine. I had Filipino friends with whom I could eat lumpia and pancit, and Mexican friends whose families made mole and tamales.

6) Do you have a favorite “comfort food”?
I’m a sucker for tortilla chips.

7) Do you ever feel guilty about having an unhealthy meal?
As a nutrition professional I feel an obligation to avoid ascribing unhealthy emotions to foods. I take issue with the “guilt-free” approach to food marketing these days. I truly believe that “All Foods Can Fit” — it’s a matter of frequency and portion size that gets you in trouble. But there are no inherently “evil” or “healthy” foods.

8) Do Americans snack too much on junk food?
We have data showing that snacking is way up. It’s true, most people think of snacks as something that comes out of a bag. I encourage my students and patients to eat fresh fruit, nuts and low-fat dairy for snack foods. If you make those your go-to snacks, you’ll automatically avoid the calorie-filled and fat-laden items you find in a typical vending machine. But you have to think ahead to prepare those snacks — because you are not going to find them in a vending machine.

9) What’s the most important message you give to your nutrition clients?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” If you don’t consciously pack and bring your lunch to work, you can’t act surprised that you get hungry around 12 noon or 1pm and find yourself hitting up a drive-thru. You make plans for your kids’ childcare, plans for your weekend, plans to get yourself to work. You also have to make plans to have healthy foods at your disposal at all times. Because the alternative isn’t pretty.

10) How important is taking vitamins?
That depends on who you are. The vast majority of Americans do not need to take vitamins. If you eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods, you’ll automatically be meeting your vitamin and mineral needs. There are certainly special populations – such as pregnant women, vegans, and older adults — who may need supplemental vitamins and minerals. The key word is “supplement.” These things don’t replace good food choices. They simply help fill in gaps where food might not meet all of their nutritional needs.

Acting for Everyday Life: “All the World’s a Stage”

10-22-14 NEWSROOM, THEATRE PHOTO 2All great leaders, speakers, and entertainers usually have one trait in common: They’re great actors, as well.

To UC San Diego Extension instructor Ryan Beattie Scrimger, the connection is precisely as the Bard doth quote: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

“Most of us already use the life skills that acting courses can help sharpen and define,” said Scrimger, a mainstay of San Diego’s theatre scene. “They are the basic skills of problem-solving, collaboration, persuasion, negotiation, and self-confidence.”

For all of those reasons, Scrimger is enthused about her upcoming UC San Diego Extension seminar titled “Acting for Everyday Life.”

Ryan Beattie Scrimger: "Most of us already use the life skills that acting courses can help sharpen and define."

Ryan Beattie Scrimger: “Most of us already use the life skills that acting courses can help sharpen and define.”

The single-session course will be offered Saturday, Nov. 15, 10 am to 12 noon at Extension’s UCC campus (6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego, CA 92122). Fee: $45

“Once you learn how and when to use role-playing skills, you become more situation-savvy, versatile and confident,” said Scrimger, an adjunct theatre arts professor at the University of San Diego. “You’re able to use them by choice, not just by accident.”

Scrimger favors a quote by Alan Alda, best known for “MASH,” who observed: “When you step into the wilderness, you’ll discover yourself.”

“When you are willing to step into the unknown,” said Scrimger, “you discover you have your own spirit. It’s so cool when people discover they have a sense of self. This course is an invitation to bring that spirit out.”

An Author’s Flights of Fantasy: “Nurturing the Spark of Creativity in Young People”

Henry Herz, with sons Josh (left) and Harrison: "Parental authority and bribery -- always a winning combination."

Henry Herz, with sons Josh (left) and Harrison: “Parental authority and bribery — always a winning combination.”

Henry Herz has two writing partners — his young sons Josh and Harrison. Together, they spin fanciful tales of science fiction and fantasy aimed at children whose fertile imaginations run just as wild as theirs.

Their first collaboration, a fantasy early chapter book, was published in 2012 and titled Nimpentoad, which he describes below. Herz polished his craft by taking the UC San Diego Extension course Writing Children’s Picture Books, taught by Sarah Tomp and Andrea Zimmerman.

Away from writing, Herz is a principal in Lean Business Solutions, a San Diego company that specializes in process improvement training and consulting. He has more than 20 years of experience working with large system integration firms including SAIC and Booz-Allen, along with smaller software development firms.

A graduate of Cornell (Operations Research and Industrial Engineering), he also earned master’s degrees from George Washington University and Georgetown University.

The Herz trio’s next picture book is scheduled for publication in January 2015. Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes replaces the original characters with mythological creatures.

Q: First, how did you get your two sons involved in writing with you?
A: Parental authority and bribery — always a winning combination.

Q: How does that process work?
A: The writing or the bribery? I draft the initial version of the story, and then they review it and provide feedback. They are like a mini-critique group or an adolescent focus group.

Q: As a frequent speaker on self-publishing, what’s the best advice you can give to aspiring writers?
A: Make sure you know why you are writing a story before deciding whether to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing.

Q: Why are you so fascinated by fantasy and science fiction?
A: For me, the appeal of what we call “SFF” is being immersed in other worlds. I love hanging out with elves, wizards, and wookies. Orcs, less so.

Q: When you took the Children Literature course, what was the best lesson you learned?
A: That there are rules to follow that will increase your chances of being traditionally published. And you can violate those rules. Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit is a great example of that.

10-14-14 NIMPENTOAD, GRAPHICQ: What are some of the entrepreneurial projects you’ve done together?
A: My goal was to teach my sons about running a business, responsibility, handling money, and interacting with new people. Our first business sold custom LEGO vehicles as gifts or party favors. The second sold custom cast terrain and bases for use in the fantasy Warhammer tabletop miniatures game. The third sold custom cast and painted concrete YardCritterz — animal and insect versions of garden gnomes.

Q: Where do you think your stories and your creativity come from?
A: Too much dietary sugar? Certainly never growing up, plus reading a lot of fantasy and science fiction. There’s a saying: A lion is the product of all the zebras it’s eaten.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing children’s books?
A: Knowing that I’ve planted or nurtured the spark of creativity in young people. Who knows what great things their creativity will produce?

Q: Who or what exactly is Nimpentoad?
A: Nimpentoad, protagonist of the eponymous book, is a nibling — a small, clever, and fuzzy woodland creature.

Q: What’s the story line of your soon-to-be-published book?
A: Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes is a collection of classic rhymes, each given a monstrous twist. So, it has no overarching story line. See the aforementioned “rules, violations thereof.”

Writing Children’s Picture Books is part of the UC San Diego Extension certificates in Children’s Book Illustration and Children’s Book Writing. For more information, visit our website or contact us at ahl@ucsd.edu or 858-534-5760.

The Future of Cleantech: “We’re Going Back to the Idea of Learning from Nature”

10-10-14 GRAPHIC, JACQUES CHIRAZIA monthly series of 20-minute conversations with UC San Diego Extension instructors

Topic: “The Promise of Cleantech: What’s Our Energy Future?”

Host: John Freeman

Guest: Jacques E. Chirazi, instructor, “Cleantech/Clean Energy”


Join Extension instructor Jacques E. Chirazi as he discusses the fast-changing realm of cleantech and how our lives – and attitudes about energy-saving and the need for resource conservation have changed.

An expert on biomimicry, the science that studies nature’s systems and then imitates those designs and processes to solve current real-world challenges, Chirazi serves as manager of the City of San Diego’s Cleantech program. More than 200 companies are part of that innovation-minded coalition.

That in mind, Chirazi regards San Diego as an emerging global hub for the latest in cleantech products, technologies and ideas.

Selected excerpts:

  • On what we can learn from biomimicry: “In San Diego, we have a very famous tree called the Torrey Pine. This tree lives in an area that’s very poor in water. … If you ever see a Torrey Pine, it has very long needles. The purpose of that is to have a greater surface area to capture the moisture in the air, for another source of water. … We’re going back to this idea of learning from nature.”
  • On society’s changing views on environmentalism: “We’re making changes on how people live and realizing the impact we have on the planet. … I think we’re in a transition time. Over time, people will make better decisions. But right now, we have to make compromises.”
  • On Tesla founder Elon Musk: “I’m an admirer. He’s an entrepreneur, so he takes risks. You can take calculated risks, but sometimes you have to take really big risks. When he came out with the Tesla, people were saying, that’s not gonna go. … He’s sold 10,000 to 15,000 cars and now, the market value of Tesla is almost a quarter of what GM is today. And GM produces millions of cars.”
  • On cleantech’s inherent frustrations: “Roadblocks are always part of the challenge, especially if you come up with innovative ideas. You always get some resistance because most people do not like change. With any potential economic output, there’s usually some sort of pain when times are difficult. But once you get over that hump, you see the benefits.”

This Career Talk Radio podcast is part of Career Channel. You can subscribe to Career Talk Radio via iTunes.


Doing the Dirty Work of Clean Tech: “It Starts Within Your Own Sphere of Influence”

Jacques Chirazi: "In my heart, I’m an environmentalist, so I’m always looking for ways to improve how humans live on this planet."

Jacques Chirazi: “I’m an environmentalist, so I’m always looking for ways to improve how humans live on this planet.”

For Jacques E. Chirazi, who has managed the Cleantech program for the City of San Diego since 2007, the phrase for the future is biomimicry innovation.

Simply put, that’s the science of innovating from nature’s genius and then applying that knowledge to solve human challenges.

In his role, Chirazi helps create new jobs, generate additional revenue through new economic activity, and improve environmental quality.

As a UC San Diego Extension instructor, Chirazi shares an upcoming 10-session course – “Clean Energy/Clean Tech” – with fellow instructors Robert Gilleskie and Frederick C. Speece, from Oct. 9 through Dec. 11.

A graduate of San Diego State University, Chirazi earned a master’s in international environmental policy from UC San Diego’s Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies.

Q: What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your every-day job with Cleantech?

A: It’s really about having a positive impact on my community. A lot of the projects I do are about improving overall quality of life and providing new, innovational tools that people can use, whether it’s in energy or transportation.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of being an Extension instructor?

A: I always tell my students that I’m here to share my passion and my knowledge. But I’m also constantly learning from them, as well.

Q: After the course is over, do you sense your students have changed the way they view the concept of clean energy?

A: I think so, yes. In fact, many of my former students come back and tell me that they’ve changed their career path, or that they now have a different outlook on their life. They’re excited about getting involved in making more sustainable choices as part of their long-term goals.

Q: What are the basic tenets of clean tech?

A: Way back when, we used to call it “Sustainable Development.” In my heart, I’m an environmentalist, so I’m always looking for ways to improve how humans live on this planet. Finding a way in which we could balance human growth along with a greater stewardship of the earth – it’s really about trying to find a balance between economic development and our environmental policies.

Q: What should we be doing more clean-tech lives?

A: For all of us, it starts within your own sphere of influence. Such as, you and your family having a greater sense of conscience, in terms of gratitude for the limited and diminishing natural resources we have. Every day, we make decisions about all kinds of things – whether it’s about the car we drive or the food choices we make. And it’s about asking ourselves: Can I save time, energy and resources by doing something else? I really want us to be thinking about how we can do more with less.

Q: What kind of car do you drive?

A: I drive a very old Honda, which is not the most energy-efficient car. But I do try to use mass transit as much as possible. I usually take the bus, but from time to time, I have to use my car. However, I’m also a member of the car-share service, which is a program that I manage.

Q: What’s the future of battery-powered cars?

A: I think the future is going to come from innovators like [Tesla founder] Elon Musk, who is really changing the world of energy. In a very short time, he’s shown the world that the era of the battery is changing very fast through innovation, research and commercialization. Very soon, we’ll have battery-powered cars that can travel a range of 200 to 300 miles between re-charge stations.

Q: What makes San Diego such a prime locale for clean tech?

A: One factor is our universities, led by UCSD and SDSU. They are magnets for world-class researchers and innovators. These are places where new technologies have been created and commercialized. On top of that, we have our climate, not only the weather but the investment climate. We have a very diverse economy and a very skilled workforce in industries such as biotech, with skills that can easily be transferred to clean tech. Plus, we’re on the border with Mexico, which has a lower wage rate. We also have a close proximity to Imperial Valley, with a huge amount of land and potentially a lot of solar installations and manufacturing sites.

Q: What’s the next big idea in clean tech?

A: In my opinion, the holy grail of this space is energy storage. We know how to generate a ton of solar and wind energy, but we don’t yet have a viable way to store renewable energy in a way that’s cost effective. What’s going to happen is a combination of energy grid systems that will be fully integrated with renewables and energy storage combined. That way, we’ll be able to take power from where it’s generated to where the need is and the people are – in homes, businesses, and cars.

As Past Times Go By, Instructor Asks: “How Do I Make History Come to Life?”

Dale Pluciennik has always been fascinated by history, from ancient to modern times. That’s why he enjoys teaching U.S. history at San Marcos High School and also serving as a UC San Diego Extension instructor in “Culture and Inclusion” and “U.S. Constitution Preparation Course and Examination.”

A San Diego State University history graduate – with an emphasis on Colonial Latin America, North America and European Imperialism – Pluciennik has taught at the K-12 level as a substitute teacher and led graduate seminars at SDSU. He completed his prerequisite teaching courses at UC San Diego Extension, “which I’m grateful for because it helped me get my current job.”

Q: What fascinates you most about learning and teaching history?

A: For me, it’s the cultural interaction between peoples. My challenge as a teacher, which I love doing, is just, how do I make history come to life? Depending on the time period, I try to put my students back in time, giving them a more empathetic, relevant approach, as if they were there.

Q: How do you do that?

A: Well, I’m pretty energetic in the classroom, and they seem to connect to that. Like the old saying goes, you’re 50 percent educator and 50 percent entertainer, especially in high school. If your students don’t buy into you as a person, they won’t buy into your subject matter, no matter what you say. That’s simply the reality.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

A: Every day, one or more of my students will do and say something that just cracks me up. They’re always trying to keep me apprised of the latest trends in pop culture. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

Q: What’s your family background? Did that influence your interest in history?

A: I was born and raised in Ramona, so I’m one of the few San Diego natives. When I was very young, my maternal grandmother, who was from Canada, told me stories about her family’s history. That’s what first got me interested in history. And my father was a Polish refugee from Germany who was born in a forced labor camp. Last summer, he took my brother and I back to where he was born in the small German town of Gehofen and told us stories of his childhood. That was our living history lesson.

Q: If you could go back in time, what period of history would you like to live in?

A: You know, I have to admit that I’m one of those guys who hates Renaissance Faires, for example. Compared to us, they really had it pretty bad back then. I like living in the here and now. For one thing, I have immediate access to learning about history in my smart-phone device. That’s one big advantage we have over previous cultures.

Q: These appear to be difficult times for teachers. Do you feel that way?

A: With all the changes in curriculum and everything else, I still feel as I did when I started at San Marcos High School. Good teaching is good teaching. The key is being able to connect with your students. I hope to teach well into my 60s, about 27 years from now.


English Language Instructors’ Song of Welcome: “We Will, We Will Teach You…”

A SONG FOR YOU: ELI instructors Laura Bozanich and Tony Carnerie sang their greeting.

A SONG FOR YOU: ELI instructors Laura Bozanich and Tony Carnerie sang their greeting.

UC San Diego Extension’s English Language Institute (ELI) welcomed more than 600 international students this week for its Fall ’14 academic programs.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, several hundred students were officially greeted by staff and instructors in the ELI courtyard.

After director Roxanne Nuhaily delivered her opening remarks, instructors Laura Bozanich and Tony Carnerie led their colleagues with a rousing rendition of Queen’s classic rock anthem, “We Will Rock You.”

To the students’ delight, the lyrics were changed slightly to be: “We Will, We Will Teach You … (pause) English!”

ELI classes will continue over the next ten weeks.

Pathways to a Healthier Night’s Sleep: “Changing Lives with Every Breath”

Mark Wixom: "Many people simply aren’t aware of the potentially serious health risks caused by sleep disorders."

Mark Wixom: “Many people simply aren’t aware of the potentially serious health risks caused by sleep disorders.”

Mark Wixom’s company, ResMed, makes sure its millions of customers get a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by potentially serious health ailments that often go undetected.

Founded in 1989, ResMed develops, manufactures and distributes sophisticated devices that treat sleep-disordered breathing and other respiratory conditions.

As ResMed’s director of continuous improvement, Wixom oversees the use of standard improvement methods with departmental change agents driving efficiency initiatives.

Wixom, a graduate of Texas A&M University in business management, has been with the firm since 2002, when he was hired as Director of Customer Service. He completed his UC San Diego Extension Specialized Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification in 2010.

Q: What exactly is the concept of continuous improvement?

A: Continuous Improvement is designed to help grow the business more efficiently. Our improvement motto is “eliminate waste, create time and achieve more,” based on the principles of Lean Six Sigma.

Q: Looking back, what did you learn that’s helped you in your current role?

A: The courses helped me significantly increase my knowledge base, in all areas. The whole idea is problem-solving as well as making the most of opportunities. We focus developing those skills throughout the organization.

Q: How would you describe ResMed’s corporate mission?

A: We’re in the business of breathing. We believe we are “Changing lives with every breath.” It’s a great feeling to work for a company that helps improve the quality of so many lives.

Q: Does your role require medical expertise or training?

A: My background is in business management and not clinical expertise. My role is all about improving our business operations and pursing operational excellence.

Q: What are the medical conditions that can be diagnosed through sleep disorders?

A: Left untreated, sleep apnea can heighten the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). When people ask me, I encourage them to ask their doctor about it and always invite them to check out our website, ResMed.com, for more information.

Q: How do your devices help alleviate these sleep disorders?

A: We offer a full range of medical devices. Our product line will treat and manage respiratory disorders to include sleep apnea, obstructive and restrictive disease breathing disorders, pediatric to adult age. It’s one of the most under-diagnosed conditions out there. And most insurance providers will cover these devices.

Q: Could you describe what happens in sleep apnea?

A: Obstructive sleep apnea describes a disorder in which you stop breathing temporarily while you’re sleeping. It may be for up to 10 to 20 seconds or longer. Your oxygen level goes down, and a signal is sent to the control center in your brain, triggering you to wake up just enough to gasp for air and start breathing again.

Q: How often does that occur, for the condition to be potentially dangerous?

A: The cycle can repeat itself up to dozens of times or more during the night, and you may not even remember any of this happening. Many people simply aren’t aware of the potentially serious health risks caused by sleep disorders. Everyone should ask their doctor and look into other sources of information to learn more. As our company founder, Peter Farrell, has said: “Our biggest competitor is ignorance.”

Content Creation and the Rise of Digital Media

WritingWhat do Mashable, Pitchfork, and the Blogess have in common? They’re all lucrative and renowned online media ventures for one. But most notably, they all started small—and got big through the savvy use of digital media.

Becoming the next Mashable is a lot harder than it used to be. Since anyone with internet access can be a content creator, there’s a sea of options for users to wade through.

Expertise in a particular subject or a unique voice can draw readers in, but in today’s competitive and rapidly changing media industry, it takes a diverse set skills to see growth, make money, and become an influencer.

“Today’s marketing continues to be more visual. It’s not enough to be able to entice someone with your writing abilities.” says Kelly Bennett, an instructor in the Digital Media Content Creation program at UC San Diego Extension. “You also have to really grab them with an interesting or powerful visual to stop them from ‘scrolling’ over your content.”

Utilizing a variety of digital media attracts audiences because it feeds the senses. Great writing is important, but graphics, professional-quality photos, videos, and social media engage the eyes, ears and mind. Media separates successful sites apart from the rest.

Digital media also adds information to content. In an age where data is more easily collected and interpreted than ever, an infographic illustrates the big picture. A photo puts the reader in the scene. Videos and audio add a layer of engagement.

In short, digital media creates value if it’s rich. It can make people smarter, provide entertainment, lead to consumers to identify with your brand, and even influence the market.

Demand for savvy digital media professionals has skyrocketed in this post digital revolution world.

”Consider reading digital content like a mass text message from a business. You are reaching thousands, sometimes millions of your audience all in one Tweet. It is an invaluable resource for today’s businesses,” says Bennett.

The Digital Media Content Creation program teaches you how to reach those millions. Classes include instruction on writing for web audiences, graphic design, photography, business development, and more.

Having digital media skills in one’s tool belt will open doors. Not only can you create a standout personal brand, you can also be a competitive candidate for any job within the rapidly expanding digital media industry.

All of the courses are available online, which offers flexibility for busy professionals. A selection of courses are is also held onsite each quarter for San Diego students. A certificate can be earned in 4-8 quarters if 1 or 2 classes courses are taken each quarter.

Learn more  >

A Caseload of Seeking Justice: “It’s My Job to Represent the Best Interests of the State”

As a long-time prosecutor and deputy district attorney, Richard J. Sachs has always been focused on a singular task: to seek justice. “That’s the main reason I do what I do,” he says, reflecting on his nearly 30-year career with the San Diego District Attorney’s office, headed by Bonnie Dumanis.

Richard Sachs: "For me, teaching turns the clock back a hundred years."

Richard Sachs: “For me, teaching turns the clock back a hundred years.”

An English Literature graduate of Chicago’s Loyola University and John Marshall Law School, he has been an instructor in UC San Diego Extension’s paralegal program for 10 years. Currently, he’s teaching Criminal Law & Procedure and Evidence Law.

Q: In your career with the district attorney’s office, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about yourself and the law?

A: Probably that you never stop learning. You’re always learning new variations of things you thought you already knew. You always have to continue practicing the practice of law.

Q: What’s your specialty with the DA’s office?

A: I focus on parole hearings for those offenders who are coming up for parole after serving long periods in prison.

Q: So it’s your job to make sure they’ve served enough time before being released?

A: It’s my job to represent the best interests of the state. Most of the time, yes, we don’t want them to be released. We want to make reasonably sure they’ve served enough time for the crime or crimes they have committed.

Q: What is your level of empathy?

A: It’s only for the victims. Every crime leaves behind a victim. Sometimes, you can understand why they committed their crimes, because of a bad childhood or something like that. But in this office, we always have more sympathy for the victims.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching at UC San Diego Extension?

A: What you teach is twice learned. I’ve always believed that. It’s a chance to stay on top of your field and interact with students who are taking paralegal courses for the first time. It invigorates you, forces you to stay on top of your game.

Q: What lessons do you hope they learn?

A: The basic fundamentals of law, how to be resourceful, how to get to the bottom of things. As paralegal students, they need far less in-depth legal knowledge than a lawyer would need. Most of all, they need the basic principles, so they can speak the language. I teach the basic fundamentals and problem-solving skills.

Q: What are the psychological benefits for you of being an instructor?

A: Teaching slows down my life. Everyday life is so hurried and fast. Our lives are taken up with computers, iPads, smart phones – every conceivable means to avoid slow, deliberate human interaction and face-to-face conversation with real people. For me, teaching turns the clock back a hundred years. It’s just you and the students, talking about fundamental concepts in an ancient discipline – the law.



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