The Black Mirror and Instagram Likes



I spent my second week of winter break trying to convince my father to like my recently uploaded picture on Instagram.

An hour later, I received a notification acknowledging that my father had double-tapped on my picture- taking it from 59 to 60 likes- a small milestone. In exchange for the favor, I was told to watch “Nosedive,” an episode from the T.V. series Black Mirror.

The episode appears to be set in the future, a world where status and living is defined by an individual’s online rating. Interacting and gaining approval from individuals with higher ratings allows one to boost his/her own rating. A higher rating enables access to a better apartment, modes of transportation, and an elevated standard of living. A low rating can result in discrimination and social isolation, so characters go to considerable lengths to please their colleagues, thereby resulting in interactions characterized by superficiality.

While Black Mirror is dystopian, it is not unimaginable that society may evolve to a similar state. Technology has begun to penetrate all aspects of our lives. Our social media images have become vehicles through which we seek validation for physical beauty and popularity.

I admit that I went on a tech detox for two days after watching Black Mirror. On the third day, I was back scrolling on my Instagram and Facebook feed. This time, however, I tried to appreciate the picture itself rather than examining the number of likes it garnered.  It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve found this to be both pleasant and less toxic.


School + Marriage + Kids = It’s Possible!

Imagine working in a lab, volunteering at multiple clinics, and studying for the MCATS, all while balancing a full course load. Now imagine doing it with a spouse and two kids. Marine Corps Veteran Brian Dix ’17 (the oldest student at CMC!) and his wife Stephanie talk about the challenges (and joys) of making it all work.

Many thanks to Janet Dreyer and all the teachers at The Children’s School for making work-life balance better for our community!


A Kaiser summer internship

When you read this, Grace Bailey ’18 will have set off for Oakland, California, where she’ll be interning for the summer at Kaiser Permanente. Here’s what she’s found out about the company so far:

“Kaiser makes an effort to solve problems in an innovative and service-focused (as opposed to research-focused) manner, usually through the use of emerging technologies and creative, fast-paced brainstorming sessions. They follow a step-by-step problem-solving process: They start by spending a day in a Kaiser hospital, noting observations, and interviewing nurses, staff, doctors and patients to garner a sense for the problem at hand. After their observation day, the team gathers at their office and identifies the problem plaguing the hospital. Next, they work to problem-solve, developing a solution through both human-centered design thinking and the use of technology at the Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center, Kaiser’s brainstorming and prototyping facility. Once the Innovation Consultancy team has created a viable solution to the problem, they implement it in Kaiser hospitals. To ensure that the project undertaken was successful, the team measures the effectiveness of their solution, comparing the cost of developing the project to the money the organization is saving as a result of the new solution, as well as other, less tangible measures like employee and patient satisfaction. If the solution proves successful, they scale it to become a streamlined practice in all Kaiser hospitals.

Kaiser’s innovation efforts are evident: they have the most advanced electronic medical record (EMR) system in the country and distinguish themselves from most United States hospitals in that they do not follow a fee-for-service model but instead ensure that premiums cover all patient care. Additionally, Kaiser is a key player in the Innovation Learning Network, a consortium of health care organizations that share ideas to advance healthcare innovation efforts. Overall, this speaks to Kaiser Permanente as a whole in that it values sharing knowledge and bringing great idea-generators together. From explaining the Innovation Consultancy’s process of combining new technology with new methodologies to highlighting several specific aspects of Kaiser that make it incredibly innovative, I am very excited to begin my work with Kaiser in this sphere.”


Berger Students Attend WPA!


In early May, seven Berger Institute research assistants attended the Western Psychological Association’s annual conference to present posters of their latest research findings. This year’s conference took place in Long Beach, and it was an excellent opportunity for our students to show off the hard work they’ve completed here over the past year.

In the pictures here, clockwise from the top left, are:

Kelsey Gohn ’16 and Lauren Livingston ’18 (“College Students’ Plan for the Future: Men and Women’s Priorities.”)

Kelsey Gohn ’16, Adrienne Johnson ’16, Tyler West ’16, and LillyBelle Deer ’15 (“Work-Life Priorities of College Students within Specific Fields of Study.”)

LillyBelle Deer ’15 talks to an interested observer.

Lauren Livingston ’18 gets some pointers from a tiny aid.

Not pictured are the following students/projects:

“College Students’ Anxiety Regarding Work-Life Balance,” LillyBelle Deer ’15, Adrienne Johnson ’16, Tyler West ’16, and Lauren Livingston ’18.

“If I Think I Can: Do Short-Term Career Search Self-efficacy Interventions Work?” Kelsey Gohn ’16.

“Employing Narrative Techniques to Investigate Socio-Cultural Processes and Cognitive-Linguistic Outcomes in Young Children,” Alejandro Zuniga ’17 and Timothy Valdez ’19.

Congratulations to all on a fantastic job! Our seniors will be missed.