Author Archives: Madeline Policastro

About Madeline Policastro

Madeline Policastro is a Senior in the School of Communications at Penn State University majoring in Telecommunications with a minor in Business and the Liberal Arts. Throughout her college experience, she has successfully exhibited creative problem solving and the determination, leadership, and ability to excel in fast-paced environments. She aspires full-time employment in either the communications field or business field. Madeline also has the ability to listen and understand others demonstrating emotional intelligence. Madeline has participated in extracurricular activities and community service as an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She previously held the position of assistant director of recruitment where her responsibilities included, however, were not limited to; guiding fellow members in the appropriate pragmatics required for acquiring personable and responsible young women and overseeing recruitment gatherings necessary for scouting potential new members. Additionally, she was a social media contributor in which she curated content and added to social media pages to promote sisterhood, while encouraging young women to join the organization. Outside of academics and extracurricular activities, Madeline enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family. Madeline spent her spring semester Junior year studying abroad in Rome, Italy and hopes to continue to travel and meet new people.

How does the sun affect acne?


My dad for years encouraged me to sit outside in the sun when my acne got bad. I also had a friend whose acne got so bad on her back, her mom got her a tanning membership. Now, studies are coming out saying that the sun is actually bad for your acne and it causes more pimples.

Many believe that the tan will cover up the acne and the sun will dry the oils. In reality, the sun may initially the sun may dry up your acne and leave it looking better temporarily. But a few days later, the skin may become inflamed, red, and because it was once dry, oily. All of these results are temporary and the sun can end up damaging the skin permanently from the ultraviolet light leading to cancer and other harmful diseases. The sun can also be causing your acne. The sun can often cause acne-type rashes due to sensitive skin, making skin worse. For people who have sensitive skin, like me, these rashes are painful and can be in forms of bumps or pimples.

The sun can also amplify acne scars. I took a trip to my dermatologist at the end of the summer complaining about my acne scars. I had finally gotten rid of the painful and embarrassing blemishes on my face but I was still insecure with the acne scars. He told me that as long as i stayed out of the sun and put moisturizer on I didn’t need a skin lightening cream. This just goes to show how damaging the sun can be even when there isn’t any acne. The scars are still an important part of the process and its shown that the sun definitely makes them worse. I now know how important it is to put sunscreen on and to stay out of the sun when my skin is bad because although at first it may seem like the sun it helping, it is actually making it worse.

Why is Retail Therapy a Thing?


Shopping can be someone’s outlet of stress or how they cope with problems. Is this actually a form of therapy or do some use it just as an excuse? A recent study shows that a large number of americans have reported shopping to cheer themselves up or used it as a form of celebration. People find it therapeutic to shop and buy thing appealing to them that make them happy. While buying these things, one may be imagining how they will use their new purchase, where they will wear it, or what people will think when they see it. Retail therapy can also be a form of motivation, buying a suit for a new job or having enough money to make something happen. One man described his retail therapy as an “if I build it she will come.” By doing this he mean that he would shop for what he thought his future wife would want and want him to look like. Many may also look at shopping as preparation, easing anxiety. This could be preparation for a baby, a holiday, or even marriage. The more someone feels prepared, the less anxious they will be. So, in a way, shopping is healthy.

However, just as anything can become too much, retail therapy can go too far also. Someone can become addicted to shopping just as they can to drugs or alcohol, making things dangerous. People will become so obsessed with the satisfied feeling or high that they might get from shopping that they need to keep on doing it. Things cost money and when shopping is someones only form of stress relief, they can be spending too much. This can become an issue with credit and can even ruin relationships. This in turn can help nothing meaning the person may end up right where they left off. Maybe retail therapy is not the best kind of therapy.

Why does adderall suppress appetite?


Many are familiar with the “study drug” adderall, whether they take it for medical purposes, to study, or to get ahead in their classes. This drug increases the activity of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine and helps one focus while stimulating the central nervous system. The drug has some very mild side effects, one of which being loss off appetite, but why does this occur?

Since adderall increases the amount of dopamine released in the brain and dopamine helps send signals when the body is satisfied from food, the adderall is sending messages to the body is full when it actually is not. This then can lead to weight loss because a person will not eat if they’re not hungry.

Chemically the drug tells you you are full when you’re not but it may be suppressing your appetite in a different way. Sometimes someone can be so focussed on what they are doing that they forget to eat. They can be so focussed on trying to do work rather than realize that they have not ate in hours. At this point, however, they do not magically become hungry, they will realize that yes their appetite has been suppressed.

Adderall also speeds up metabolism. The stimulant increases blood pressure and heart rate, which increases energy. So, people taking the drug will have a higher level of physical activity. So will the suppression of appetite, and increased physical activity, many will abuse this drug for weight loss.

Driverless Cars

141222130809-google-driverless-car-prototype-horizontal-large-galleryGoogle has recently come out with its “driverless car.” This new driverless car offers many benefits since one of the leading death causes in americans is car accidents 94% of which are due to human error. The cars have sensors to detect signs, people, or anything else that might be in the way. Through all the tests, the cars have been deemed very safe and have passed many scenarios including the unexpected. The Google cars have been in a total of 16 accidents since 2009 and in every single scenario it was not the car and a human was at fault.

Four states currently allow the testing of this car on its public roads but is this car necessarily safe? While this project offers many benefits to those that do not necessarily have the ability to drive such as disabled or visually impaired, it may not be the safest option when it comes to transportation. There are many things that can go wrong when it comes to technology running our lives. One reporter from the BBC test drove one of the cars and was not happy with it. The car reacted oddly to joggers and other things that a human eye would be able to detect and move on without a problem.

This could be evolutionary if it actually takes off. People who wouldn’t be able to originally get where they wanted to would eventually be able to travel different places or visit different people. The science behind this is also amazing. We have come so far as a society and developed something to give many people their independence while eliminating the risk for accidents. Some may argue that this might be too much in the technology direction and we are giving up our freedom.

Are there really benefits of organic food?

US-organic-food-market-to-grow-14-from-2013-18Many people today are overly concerned with the idea of organic foods that it made me wonder whether there are actually any benefits and if these benefits are that detrimental to someone’s health. Since organic farming is designed to preserve soil and water while also reducing pollution, we can assume that it is beneficial to the environment. Speaking more in terms of the human body, organic foods are free from pesticides and food additives which some may see as a healthier option. It is even said that eating more organic can help someone lose weight! The Huffington post claims that “When a produce is over-fertilized, the ratio of calories per antioxidant activity goes way up.” With this being said, someones actually intaking more calories and less nutrients the produce is offering, making organic produces the healthier option. It is also said that “Fruits and vegetables grown without artificial fertilizers significantly more key nutrients, including vitamin C.”

This may not be all true. Some researchers have concluded that there is no significant nutrient difference between organically and conventionally produced food. Even the United States Department of Agriculture claims that organic farming methods do not offer safer produce than conventionally grown produce. So, are people just spending more money because of the name “organic.” After many studies, researchers still can find no evidence of significant health differences between the two. Along with health benefits, there is also no significant evidence of disease protection from eating organic food. It seems as though the benefits that organic foods produce are not as beneficial as some may have thought. I do not see any benefit due to the many researchers that have deemed there no health difference between the two.

Does playing an instrument make you smarter?


Many of the great scientists and engineers we know of today played instruments as children but does that imply that playing an instrument makes you smarter? “Boston Children’s hospital found a correlation between musical training and improved executive function in both children and adults.” There have also been several studies showing 3 brain benefits of learning or playing an instrument. These benefits include how musicians have enhanced sensory information such as hearing, touch, and sight. Learning an instrument before the age of seven is also the most influential to their cognitive ability. With this being said, children who are learning how to play instruments will also learn time management. They will learn how to split up practice time, school time, and play time. Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, all very famous composers all had very high IQs. All of these musicians started learning music at a very young age, supporting how helpful it is to start before the age of seven.

Some psychologists will argue that it is not the music that is making children smarter. Research showed that those who played instruments often came from a more privileged background, where the parents are well educated. They believe that this is the real difference, not the musical part, the family income.

On a more psychological basis, the University of Liverpool conducted a study and found that with musical training, there is an increase in blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain. That is the language side of the brain, suggesting that music and language share common brain pathways. The Huffington post also believes that playing an instrument involves almost every part of the brain at once. Almost like exercising making someone more fit, playing an instrument is exercising the brain to keep someone sharp, supporting the fact that playing an instrument makes someone smarter.

Why do people crave sugar?



I’ve always thought that people craved sugary simply because they needed it. Although this is true in most cases, it is not true in all. There are many psychological reasons behind sugar cravings. “Sugary cravings can be a psychological response to boredom or upsetting situations.” Because sugar temporarily releases serotonin and increases moods, many people may find themselves eating sugar when they are seeking emotional comfort or they are stressed out. This craving can also be related to a drug addiction. Many people suffer actions to sugar because of the short serotonin release. People become addicted to this and when they are not with it, it can be similar to alcohol withdrawal. Often, when we are craving sugar, we are often missing something else too. Sometimes when we are thirsty our body may take it as a sugar craving, or when we are in need of actual healthy fuel, our body takes it as a sugar craving.

Not completely eliminating my original thought, the body does sometimes crave sugar because it needs it. In these cases though it needs healthy sugars like the natural ones found in fruit. Sugar gives the body energy and when your body is lacking the energy it needs, blood sugar levels will drop and the body will react negatively. Berries and other sugary fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals that people need. These fruits make people feel happy and well and give them the proper energy needed to feel good about themselves and go about their day.


Many know that using a phone before sleep can prevent a good night sleep ahead. However, there is a new study demonstrating that even cell phone use during the day can lead to a lack of sleep at night. A fairly recent study showed that “people exposed to mobile radiation took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in deep sleep” (Hall). Cell phone use during the day can also lead to an increase in depression, stress, and anxiety. This can be a third, cofounding variable how someone that uses their phone a lot, can develop some type of anxiety and then not be able to fall asleep due to his or her anxiety disorder (Laino). Although this may not seem like a big deal considering almost everyone uses their phone at some point during the day, it can be said that this phone usage can also lead to decreased work and motivation in the day ahead. This is not only affecting people’s sleeping patterns but also affecting their life when they’re not sleeping (Chan). One might say that along with all the other technology that humans are surrounded by it is impossible to say that cellphones are the ones that are causing them to sleep less, however a huge majority of people even keep their phones next to them at night. This causes people to become obsessed over their phones, maybe even checking them at night. This means that the phone is literally interrupting their sleeping patterns (Hall).

Hi I’m Maddie from Springfield, NJ. I am in this class because I originally signed up for an astronomy class and hated it. I knew close to nothing in comparison to the rest of my classmates which was very intimidating for the first day. My roommate, who is also in this class, let me know there were still some available spots so I joined immediately. As of right now I am undecided however, I have no interest in being a science major. I honestly do not enjoy the subject and have not done well with it in the past. It has always been a difficult subject for me to grasp.


I’d like to think this is my dog but its just a cute puppy I found on the internet.