Annie Pei

More by Annie Pei

NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 4/11 – 4/17


A ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea, taking dozens of lives and leaving hundreds trapped as the ship gradually went under water. The literary world also mourned the death of Noble Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose works live on forever.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

29 Dead, Hundreds Missing As South Korean Ferry Sinks

A South Korean ferry carrying at least 450 passengers flipped onto its side during transit, claiming 29 lives and leaving hundreds of other passengers missing.

The ferry was traveling from the northwest port of Incheon to the resort island of Jeju. Many of the passengers were high school students on a school trip.

29 people have been confirmed dead while around 270 people remain unaccounted for. The South Korean government originally pinned the number of rescued at 368, but a counting error later reduced the number to around 174.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud thump before the ship stopped and began sinking, though officials are still investigating the disaster’s cause. The captain was reportedly not at the helm when the ship started sinking and is now being charged with five violations that could imprison him for up to five years.

NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 04/04 - 04/10


This week, a 16-year-old boy attacked his fellow classmates with knives, leading to his arrest in Pennsylvania. Following the health care enrollment deadlines, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation after an era that saw extensive health care reforms sweep the country. Finally, Internet users were notified of the Heartbleed Bug, forcing millions to question the Internet's security.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

Boy, 16, Charged as Adult in Pa. High School Stabbings

Alex Hribal, the 16-year-old suspect in a stabbing rampage at a Murrysville, Pa., high school, will be tried as an adult due to the attack’s severity.

Hribal slashed and stabbed students with two kitchen knives Wednesday at Franklin Regional Senior High School. He injured 20 students and a security officer before an assistant principal tackled him to the ground.

Four people are in critical condition, with one 17-year-old student on life support.

Hribal faces four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds. He was charged as an adult, but his lawyer is seeking to have the case be brought down to juvenile court.

Hribal’s motive for the attack is still unknown, leaving only speculations of what could have led the teen to attempt murder.

Kathleen Sebelius Resigns 

How to Evaluate Your Job Offer Benefits: Salary, Vacation Days, Health Insurance & More


Getting a job offer is always exciting, especially if you’ve just graduated college or are a college senior looking to work full-time. Say goodbye to your classes, and say hello to the work you’ve always dreamed of doing!

What makes working even more awesome are the benefits and job perks you’re likely to get even at entry-level positions. From insurance to fun days with your co-workers, job benefits can help cut down on costs and also provide you with the incentive to keep on going. Ever wondered how sick days work or what 401k plans actually are? Read on for some of the most common perks you’re likely to get with your job and how to know whether the offer you received is a good one or needs some negotiating.

Your salary

The starting salary you receive with a company will depend largely on the industry, the geographic location of your job, and the availability of qualified candidates in your area. Lesley Mitler, founder of career counseling service Priority Candidates, explains that while a starting salary in PR, broadcast journalism or advertising could be anywhere from the low to mid $20,000 region, someone working in IT could have a starting salary in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. There is no hard-set standard for starting salaries, which is why you see a huge range depending on the industry.

Her Story: I Have Emetophobia & Generalized Anxiety Disorder


I spent Thanksgiving of my sophomore year lying in my dorm room bed, too sick to move. Nauseous and lightheaded, I rolled around in my bed, shifting from one side to the other in a desperate attempt to sleep. I was still hungry since I had only managed to eat a few bites of a Thanksgiving dinner before the nausea had hit, forcing me to run to my room and shut myself in.

One day later, my body would start reacting the same way to liquids, even if it was just water. Give it a few days, and I would suddenly start to feel nauseous in class, out on the street, at parties, everywhere.

The nausea would ebb and flow throughout the rest of the year, but its persistence alarmed me and forced me to go see any doctor I could find, and when no doctor could figure out what was wrong, I sank deeper and deeper into worry. It became increasingly debilitating, and soon I was ducking out of dance rehearsals, avoiding the gym, and even skipping class for fear of becoming nauseous and possibly throwing up in public. I started bringing around one or two plastic bags everywhere, fearing that I would actually become sick while out and about.

After multiple doctors and hundreds spent on blood tests and appointments, it didn’t hit me that something psychological was at work until November while I was studying abroad. My throat felt like it was closing up while I was eating in a Berlin market. Then it happened in another market in Prague, a café in Vienna, a nightclub in Budapest. By the time I returned to Paris to finish off the rest of my quarter there, I wasn’t able to take public transportation anymore without gagging and feeling like I was going to vomit, so I’d walk the long 40 minutes to class each day.

NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 3/28 – 4/3


This week, a huge earthquake striked north Chile, registering at an 8.2 on the magnitude scale. A shooting in Fort Hood leaves four dead, including the gunman whose family was beyond devastated at his actions. Finally, the Obama administration has extended the health care enrollment deadline to April 15 for those who began signing up for coverage on the original March 31 cutoff date, but who could not complete their health care plan purchases due to site glitches.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

Chile Struck By Massive 8.2 Magnitude Earthquake

An 8.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the region around the north port city of Iquique late Tuesday, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.

Six people died in Tuesday’s quake, though strict building codes ensured that no other lives were lost. More than 2,500 homes sustained structural damages while 928,000 people were evacuated from the area.

The quake triggered a small tsunami off the coast of Iquique as well, with seven-foot waves hitting the shores hours following the event.

The region continues to experience aftershocks, including a second earthquake that was measured at 7.8 on Wednesday.

Both earthquakes came just weeks after two similar, albeit less powerful tremors, shook the region near Iquique. The recent frequency of earthquakes in the area has put residents and officials on guard.

Shooting Rampage at Fort Hood Leaves 4 Dead

How to Reach Out to Your Future Roommate


It’s the summer before your freshman year, and we know that you’re more than excited about all the things college will bring. But of all the things that excite you most about college, your future roommate (or roommates, if you’re assigned more than one) is probably near the top of that list!

At the same time, rooming with a stranger can put many people on edge, especially since you’ll be rooming with her for a whole year. But getting to know your roommate before you move to campus can help with a lot of worries you might have. Read on to find out how you and your future roommate can reach out to each other and start on the right foot!

How should I contact my roommate?

Many colleges assign roommates randomly, and when they do, they usually give out some contact info for you to get in touch with whomever you’re living with. If the college you’ll be attending does that, how should you start talking to your roommate?


Colleges that do give out roommate contact info usually give you your roommate’s email address, and email can be a great way to introduce yourself! Because you’ve never met or spoken before, it’s fine if your first interactions with each other are more formal since you’re just trying to establish some sort of contact with your roommate.

While some roommates don’t talk to each other all that much before college starts, others want to talk way more. If you and whomever you’re living with fall into the second category, there’s going to be a point where you might want to move away from email and get the conversation going elsewhere. Email is great if you want to keep up a steady dialogue, but you may want something more conversational and lively as time goes on.

'Talk to Her': The Lives of Single Mothers & Their Sons



For filmmaker Daphne McWilliams, life has always been about mother and son. The single mother and her teen son have long tackled the world together, going down a road full of emotional ups and downs in the absence of a constant father figure. Now, Daphne seeks to put that journey in perspective with Talk to Her, a film in progress with a Kickstarter campaign that's intent on revealing the raw, often unspoken emotions driving the relationship between single mothers and their sons.

The film comes at a time when the number of single-parent households is on a sharp rise in America. In 2013, a quarter of all households in the U.S. were run by single mothers, but discussion around single-parent households still hasn’t changed. Type in “single-parent households U.S.A.” into a search bar, and pages upon pages pop up that link single-parent households to poverty, stunted job mobility and other economic factors. While there are whispers of positive single-parent households, much of it is swept under the rug in favor of the classic economic approach to the issue.

Though economics do play a huge part with single parents, an emotional aspect exists that has faded somewhat into the background, and it's one that McWilliams first noticed in her son.

NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 3/21 – 3/27


Is Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s story drawing to a close? That seemed to be the case on Monday when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that the aircraft and all aboard were officially “lost,” drawing grief and denial from passengers’ relatives. Elsewhere, a mudslide near the town of Oso, Washington claimed at least 25 lives as rescuers found themselves hampered by heavy rain. In Turkey, the government has barred access to Twitter and YouTube following leaks that uncovered possible Turkish intentions for a war against Syria.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week’s biggest stories!

Malaysian Prime Minister Announces MH370’s End

Weeks of fruitless searching prompted Malaysia’s Prime Minister to officially declare flight MH370 as “lost.”

Najib Razak held a press conference on Monday to announce that MH370’s journey terminated in the Indian Ocean.

“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” said Razak. “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

For relatives of the plane’s passengers, the announcement should have delivered closure after weeks plagued with questions and contradictions. Instead, the statement angered many, leading to accusations that the Malaysian government was lying and covering up the truth.

NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 3/17 – 3/21


This week, there may once again be a breakthrough in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with search and rescue crews hurrying to locate two possible pieces of debris spotted by satellite. Russia continues to turn a cold shoulder to the U.S. and its allies, confirming Friday that Crimea has become a part of the Russian Federation after President Vladimir Putin annexed the ex-Ukrainian region. Finally, Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps passed away, prompting strong reactions from those who honored and those who opposed him.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week’s biggest stories!

Australian Satellite Spots Possible MH370 Debris

Australian rescue authorities pinpointed two objects via satellite that could reveal Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s fate.

The objects were spotted floating far southwest of Western Australia, in the southern Indian Ocean. Satellite images dated March 16 show two objects that could be debris from an aircraft, though no officials were able to confirm nor deny the claim.

Concealed Carry Now Legal On Idaho Campuses


Last Wednesday, Idaho joined only a handful of states in passing a law that allows gun owners to carry concealed firearms while on college grounds.

Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed SB 1254 into law after Idaho’s House of Representatives voted 50-19 in favor of the bill. Starting July 1 students and college faculty may walk on campus with their firearms as long as they avoid student dorms, residence halls and public entertainment facilities.

“As elected officials, we have a sworn responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States – not only when doing so is easy, convenient or without cost, but especially when it is not,” Gov. Otter wrote in an official statement. “This legislation challenges us to fulfill that charge and we will.”

“We will all be watching closely to ensure the interests of Idaho’s citizens are served while their constitutional freedoms are protected,” ends the statement.

The new law comes at a tense time when shootings and other gun-related incidents have rocked more than a few college campuses. The Huffington Post revealed that 27 reported shootings took place on college campuses last year, claiming a total of 18 victims.