Over the summer I was a Collegiate Mentor for the Buckeye Student Leadership Academy (BSLA). The program, for rising high school seniors of a rural, minority, and/or future first-generation college student background informed them of the college application process, how to apply for scholarships, and how to better their leadership skills. I still check in with my mentees on their wellbeing and how I can assist them in their pre-college journey. Many environments strive to have a safe and brave space, but this is the first experience I’ve had that truly embodied this message. Not only was I able to gain skills applicable to any job setting (working collaboratively, being flexible, and relating myself to both a professional and a younger audience, to name a few), but I was also able to get more insight into the role of education in adolescence. Linking this experience to my program of study, it’s apparent that there are strong links between educational attainment/desire and the criminal justice system. To get to know my mentees and their stories truly illuminated how much education is of value. In whatever avenue my future career belongs to, I hope to continue to emulate my supervisors and fellow collegiate mentors in their pursuit of equal, quality education for all and lowering the disparities that exist.
For the latter half of this semester, in my social stratification class, we have been working on a group project on a topic of inequality on campus of our choice. My group chose to delve into OSU’s portrayal as a diverse institution, but this portrayed image not corresponding to the racial demographics that we see on campus. We interviewed staff members that work to improve opportunities and representation for the most underserved groups, Latinx/Hispanic and African American/ Black students. We got their perspective into the barriers for minority enrollment and what can be done to improve these programs from both higher-level administrators and students. Additionally, we interviewed students in some of these programs to get their view of how they see the diversity of campus and how it has impacted their college experience.
A short excerpt from our group’s work to give a peek into our project is as follows: “When comparing the racial demographics of the student body released by the Undergraduate Student Government, we discovered that nearly 70% of students on campus identify as White while only 4% identify as Latinx or Hispanic and 6.6% identify as African American or Black. While comparing these statistics to those of the Columbus community we became more aware of how much our campus doesn’t reflect the city that we live in. In Columbus, Ohio 61% of people identify as white while 28% identify as African American or Black and 5.5% of Columbus residents identify as Hispanic or Latinx. It must be understood that there are barriers in place that prevent many people of color from accessing higher education, but as a PWI with a commitment to increasing diversity on campus OSU is in a position of power to make their students of color feel represented and appreciated on campus.”
Overall, I enjoyed working with my group on the project. As a student, being able to advocate and raise awareness for the change I would like to see on campus, along with working with individuals from diverse backgrounds that want to see the same change as well, will be something that sticks with me from my college experience. Moving forward this provides me with another fire lit inside of me and a reminder of why I advocate for social justice, diversity, and inclusion both on and off campus.
Over spring break, I went to Washington D.C. as a part of my Mount Scholars annual D.C. trip. We visited The Capitol, CATO institute, various monuments, Ford’s Theatre and toured the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin, Arlington National Cemetery, and National War College. Along with getting to have dinner with alumni of our program, lunch with the some of the OSU Government Affairs staff, and meet Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
I learned how fast paced the city is and there’s a certain vibe about the city which you can only understand by being there. There’s also a career in almost every area; you don’t have to have a job that is political to work in D.C. There’s many components and details that go into how everything manages to work. I found it fascinating just to take in all that D.C. has to offer.
On the last full day of our trip, we spent time with the congressional office of our personal districts. I had the amazing opportunity of shadowing Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio’s 3rd congressional district. I got to see a peak into her daily life including, going on The Capital lawn to interact with student protesters during the national walk out for gun violence, meet members of the Congressional Black Caucus, talk with members of her staff, and tour her office. I was also recruited to be a part of a video that her office is producing to show how influential Rosa Parks and her legacy has been. It was riveting to just travel with her and go through the hallways, elevators, and private subways reserved solely for members of Congress. Overall, I had an incredible experience and I can see myself possibly having a future in Washington.
Last semester was a whirlwind that, in hindsight, went by so fast. It was filled with many firsts, from my first day of college to my first OSU football game as a Buckeye. I entered as a criminology major and I’m glad that this has proven to work out for me so far. I love learning and with this major it’s been really intriguing to learn some of the processes behind why we behave the way we do and the theory of crime along with crime statistics.
The start of college also signified my start as a Mount Leadership Society Scholar and Morrill Scholar. My whole life I’ve been involved in different advocacy, community service, and leadership experiences that I was glad to continue it with these two incredible programs. From going to retreat to attending Leadership Summit, it’s been a blast. I loved volunteering for various service events and even joining the R.O.W. (Recruitment, Outreach, and Welcoming) committee for Mount.
I also started my Girl’s Circle journey with participating in Women’s Circle. To prepare us for working with Columbus area girls and help us learn about ourselves, we were in small groups to discuss our own experiences as women. I found this to be very powerful and motivating just to have a place where I could go during the week, leave whatever else I was dealing with at the door, and just have open dialogue with other women. Every week that time was so therapeutic and refreshing to be able to release my feelings from different life experiences I’ve had, while learning more about myself and the women around me. I look forward to leading a Girl’s Circle this semester and not only make an impact on these young women, but also continue to learn more about myself.
This semester I hope to continue my academic progress and drive. I’m excited to pursue new academic and career focused opportunities along with continuing to develop my leadership and interpersonal skills. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead and I look forward to more experiences with my fellow Mounties, MSP, and Girl’s Circle!
As a part of Mount Leadership Society, we celebrated leadership month, that concluded with our leadership summit in October. Every year there is a new theme for summit that corresponds to one of our Mount essentials. This year’s theme was consciousness of self, so we further developed how we can be more self aware in a variety of contexts. We were also able to pick two breakout sessions to attend; I attended “An Unapologetic Black Girl Issa Professional Black Girl!” and “Gender as a Social Construct”.
In the first workshop, listed above, we discussed stereotypes with black girls and being professional black girls, in the way that we take being a black girl as serious as being a professional. I now represent myself in this light, and as a black girl in today’s society I personally related to much of the material that was shared. In the second workshop listed we defined the “boxes” of male and female gender, how society has constructed these boxes, and the stereotypes and assumptions that correlate to them. I learned some pressures that guys face simply because of their gender, that I hadn’t ever thought of and how that can affect them. In general, I found our discussion riveting and very thought provoking.
Overall Mount Summit was a very great learning experience and lead me to new insights. I think anytime you can learn something new, or a new perspective on a subject, it can not only make you more informed, but also lead you to think more critically of your own thoughts and actions.
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Over the course of this school year, I’ve had access to many extraordinary experiences and opportunities. Whether it was volunteering with Mount, traveling to Washington D.C., being a Morrill Scholar, or leading elementary schools girls in promoting self-esteem and empowerment with Girls Circle, It’s been amazing to be a Buckeye. I’ve witnessed myself grow not just academically, but professionally and personally. I’ve been able to immerse myself in an entirely different environment and learn what values and beliefs I truly want to have for myself. Not only did I make the adjustment to the chaotic world of college, but I’ve learned so much about myself. I’m able to handle conflict well, a skill I’ve continually been working on. I’ve also been able to grow in experiences where I’ve been placed outside of my comfort zone. Through personality tests I took with Mount, I learned my Clifton strengths and VIA personality traits. These helped me put into words the characteristics of my personality and my strongest skills.
I also feel more confident in my choice of major. When I initially entered college I picked my path of study relatively randomly, but through taking classes and interacting with different professionals and alumni, I feel more secure in my path of criminology. I also recently made the addition of security and intelligence as a minor; I’m still contemplating adding an additional major or minor. While I’m not yet certain of what lies ahead, I currently have aspirations towards becoming an intelligence analyst. I’ve just finished one section of my college journey, but I’m excited for what my next years of college have in store.
Several of the interests I have and programs I participate in align with the G.O.A.L.S. that OSU Honors and Scholars emphasize.
On the topic of global awareness, as a member of MSP and mentor on the Community service team of MSP I’ve had a wonderful experience interacting with people of different races, ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, religions, sexual orientations, and backgrounds. Coming together in an environment that truly fosters inclusivity, social justice, and diversity is incredible. I strive to promote these core values in all aspects of my life, as representation is a crucial facet in seeing accomplishment and progress happen in our world. I also serve as a Collegiate Mentor for the Buckeye Student Leadership Program, in which we mentor seniors in high school that are minorities, from rural areas, and/or future first generation college students. We helped to inform these students on the college application process and give them the perspective of someone currently in college.
Within my major I have had numerous occasions of original inquiry inside of the classroom. For my criminology course I completed papers, one with a plan for effectively dealing with the homicide crisis in Columbus and the other evaluating the TCAP program designed to be an aide in the issue of overpopulation of prisons. Both assignments required me to think critically and put myself in the shoes of being a member of a task force actively trying to solve these issues. I also feel that this has given me a new perspective on thinking about many of the pertinent crime problems occurring in our society and added another skill to my repertoire. I’m also a participant in the STEP program this year. The main aspect of the program is creating a formal proposal to earn university funds in the pursuit of a topic of your choice. Additionally, the STEP program requires you to attend Personal Development Co-curriculars which range on a variety of topics, finish a financial wellness program, and attend an expo to view the completed projects by other students.
Overall, in many of the classes in my major I have had the opportunity to read several different scholarly articles and readings ranging from gender socialization to income inequality in America. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading court cases for my criminal justice class. Outside of the classroom, I had the opportunity to travel to D.C. over spring break of last year with Mount Scholars. We were able to meet with various institutions and interact with different government agencies and politicians. I even had the amazing opportunity of shadowing Congresswoman Beatty for a day. To expand my college experience and diversity of thought, I would love to study abroad while still in my undergraduate years. Study abroad gives an opportunity to learn more about a region of the world while also continuing to learn more about yourself. I also plan on doing research as a part of my degree to delve further into an area of sociology/criminology while learning more about research practices.
Mount Leadership Society Scholars has a clear focus on both leadership development and service engagement. In Mount we have different events that specifically foster leadership development, such as Mount Summit, retreats during the 1st and 2nd years, and biweekly meetings that focus on a set topic. Over the summer I assisted with orientation information sessions along with being a member of the summer planning committee for the Launch Week program, which we host for the incoming first years to help familiarize them with OSU and our scholar’s program. We also have many things that focus on service engagement, including monthly service projects that we participated in during our first year and a Year-of-Service project during our second year in which we concentrate our service in one or two service agencies in the community. I have the delight of working with Dress for Success, whose efforts are devoted to women’s professional development, for my year of service project.
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This past weekend I traveled to Girl Scout Camp Ken-Jockety to go camping with members from my old Girl Scout troop. Growing up, I was always active in Girl Scouts, and with that camping. Girl Scout camp is one of the first places I can remember enacting my leadership skills and finding out characteristics about myself.
Having the opportunity to get out of city and reconnect with nature is something I always find to be valuable, especially amongst a busy life as a college student. Not only to be able to encounter things you don’t see amid everyday life on campus (such as the stars at night, the various animals that inhabit the land, and and the quiet of being outdoors), but also being able to focus solely on yourself and what is around you. Having the time to think about your aspirations, goals, and inner self in an environment that highlights these notions is breathtaking. Coming back to a place where I began my leadership experience, has now come full circle with where I am in my OSU experience as a Mount Scholar.