Year In Review

Being from Indiana and the only one from my high school, I anticipated a difficult transition. The friends I have made through ENR scholars are people I will keep in touch with after college.

Becoming a buckeye has meant embracing Ohio in all of its glory. This is my first, and so far only, O-H-I-O. Not only is it significant for that purpose, but also it was taken at Hocking Hills. The first few months were difficult, since I had no existing friendships here, but the camping trip allowed me to meet other people outside of my suite. The camping trip brought me closer to ENR through the connections I made with other students but also through bonding with nature.

One of the greatest opportunities I have had since I have been at OSU is working as a Camp-in instructor for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Although this picture was actually taken during a birthday party I helped for and not my job, it still highlights the importance of the zoo in my life. My passion for animals and conservation is undeniable and I could not imagine having to give up my involvement with zoos while I am in college. The zoo has provided me an even vaster knowledge of animals and a great network of people. My coworkers and boss have also given me the encouragement and support for my elephant internship this summer at Kansas City Zoo.

As silly as this picture is, it was the first and only time we were able to get everybody from our suite together. Living with other ENR scholars was a great way to make friends and adjust to life in college. Throughout my time with my suitemates I have gotten to know each and every one of them. This is meaningful to me because I will forever be able to look back at my first year of dorm life with happy memories.

Finding your niche in college is difficult, but luckily I found mine in Zoology club. Not only did it connect me with other people in my major but it also helped me realize that Zoology is definitely the major I want to pursue. This picture is of my friend Hanna and I at our last Zoology club meeting where we both discovered that we made it onto next year’s board. Next year I will be the fundraising chair for Zoology club and hope to fundraise enough to give back to the local nonprofit speakers that we bring into club.

As hectic and crazy as it can be living in a Morrill Quad, I am glad I did because that is where I met Syd. Rooming together this year brought us close since we both dealt with the transition issues of being out of state and not knowing anybody at OSU. Through the easy and hard times we have gotten closer and are even rooming together again. ENR brought us together and this picture is meaningful because we took it outside to mark the start of warm weather and surviving our first year at OSU together. Friends who can survive going to the school up north together can get through anything.

OSU, ENR scholars, and Columbus in general have provided me the opportunity to advance my learning and career opportunities. I look forward to being a mentor next year and I hope the incoming freshman find the same enjoyment in scholars that I have found.

Mid-Action Plan Check In

The palm oil crisis has its roots in numerous aspects, making it difficult to eliminate. For week 1, I decided to sign petitions, because people have better chance of making an impact in larger numbers. I selected three different petitions, each with a different focus. The first one was about protecting orangutans from the harms of deforestation due to the demand for palm oil. The second one was a petition to send letters to Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and Colgate-Palmolive, as well as other companies that use palm oil and remind them that their polices are not helping to stop the deforestation due to their products. The last one I signed was to speak out against Indonesia’s plan to give money to a biofuel subsidy that would increase the rate of deforestation. For week 2, I am creating a post to educate others about my issue. Initially I was going to write a post with a picture or two, but I came across a powerful video, so I decided to let it do more of the talking. The difficulty of a social media post is getting people to take the time to read the post or watch the video instead of just scrolling past. I should be more aggressive about my issue and reach out to more people in the hopes they will want to combat the issue with me. Since, I have started my action plan I feel like I am not doing enough for my issue. It is difficult since a majority of the industrial issues are passed overseas. Regardless, I have a hard time not wanting to find something more justice oriented to do, even though I am at a loss for what that may be. I foresee the challenge of detecting palm oil in products because palm oil can be under numerous names. I also think it could be difficult to find sustainable alternatives to the products containing palm oil. I am interested to see if I will try to just completely give up palm oil containing products or if I will be eager to find sustainable alternatives.

Earth Month Action Plan

For my Earth Month Action Plan, I am doing what I can to help fight the palm oil crisis. For week one, I am going to read through and sign petitions that help stop the destruction of forests for palm oil and also to protect orangutans. This will be challenging because I have to find petitions that combat the palm oil crisis and provide enough information for me to fully support their causes. For week two, I plan to educate my friends and family by crafting social media posts that are visually appealing and educate people about the palm oil crisis and what they can do to help decrease the demand. This will be difficult, since I have to find the key points to tell others without losing their attention. For week three, I plan to go through all of my household items that contain palm oil. The task of going through the items will be easy but finding sustainable alternatives could be difficult. I am not sure what to expect when going through items because palm oil can also be listed under other names. For week four, I plan to go through foods and try to stop eating palm oil. This is difficult because when I eat at the dining halls and restaurants I do not know what is in the food. This is also going to be hard because of the other names that palm oil can be found under. I have already given up Nutella since palm oil is the second ingredient in Nutella. I will not throw away the items I find since that would be wasteful, I will try to donate them but know not to buy them again and inform others.

Reflection:Social Enterprise

Previously, I always thought of social enterprise as targeting the people with more influence, such as corporations, but Kenny and the TED talk showed me that you could also target the small people and still have an influence. When considering my issue, it is important to consider that it is not as obvious of an issue as human trafficking. Therefore, not only does change need to be made to end the crisis, but awareness needs to be spread. Palm oil used to be a hot topic, but for a reason I have yet to figure out, it has been tossed aside. I also really enjoyed what Kenny said about creating a loving work environment with a mission of love. He was right when he said you cannot train nice. Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to work somewhere where I would be happy and feel like I am making a difference. Kenny’s coffee shop provides people that opportunity, and I think all social enterprises should adapt their current models to be more loving.

My biggest take away is that people want to help if you give them an easy way to get involved. For example, Kenny not only draws people into Roosevelt Coffee Shop with his coffee, but also his mission of supporting clean water, fighting hunger, and fighting human trafficking. Most people live busy lives, but his business provides convenience and a window for everyday people to support those issues. I always thought that I could do a lot of things to make a difference, but that it would be hard for me to get others involved, but if other people can, then why can’t I? If I had the ability to open my own store, I would totally open up a store of completely palm oil free products. People love orangutans and the other animals that are getting killed by the palm oil crisis, but they are not passionate enough to check everything they buy for palm oil, but if all the items were not mixed together, then there would not be an issue. Overall, I think if people are passionate and do not give up; they have the power to influence communities.

Through the Lens: Social Enterprise

Social enterprise is when commercial strategies are utilized to make improvements that will affect the well being of humans and the environment. In Indonesia there are social business schemes that revolve around the idea of social enterprise. The plan is to have industries get there seeds from small farmers in turn helping small farms get new technology so that in a few years the small farmers can become sustainable farmers. The main plan is to get large companies to use sustainable practices to manufacture their goods. Companies control a large chunk of the palm oil industry, making them the prime target for decreasing the use of palm oil and minimizing the crisis. I can get involved in my issue through social enterprise is to join the groups that are speaking out to large companies and striving to prove the benefits of sustainable products. The major challenge is that most large companies are not headquartered near me and it can be hard to get companies to listen to people and find a reason to change what in their eyes is not a pressing issue. The most important thing to consider about the palm oil crisis through the social enterprise lens is that these companies need to feel that change is worth investing in and that people will still like their products if they are manufactured differently. It can be easy to think that a single person can make the whole world change, but even social enterprise involves the collaboration of a lot of people with a common end goal.

On the personal responsible citizen level people cannot support companies that use palm oil by not purchasing their products, even if they have some products without palm oil. On the participatory citizen level people can boycott companies that use palm oil and get others involved through things such as protests. On the social-justice oriented citizen level people can meet with companies and try to convince them that they can be sustainable. The key is to get more people to be on the third level so that larger changes can be implemented.

Jason Clay has a TED talk titled How big brands can help save biodiversity which addresses the palm oil issue. He begins by simple talking about grocery stores and whether or not buyers have the right to chose between buying sustainable products versus unsustainable products or if they should all be sustainable. I am not sure there is a right answer to that dilemma. He presents the idea that getting companies to work together and invest in sustainable practices has a bigger push than producers or consumers. Working with the companies is social enterprise because it works at a commercial level to get improvements for people and the environment. Cargill funded research that showed that palm oil usage could be doubled without cutting down any more trees by sustainable growing palm oil trees in Borneo on land that is already degraded. This is only one example of a way that companies can be the leaders of change. The key takeaway of the entire TED talk is that getting companies to think differently and invest in sustainability will lead to change.

Reflection: Community Organizing

Listening to the guest speakers made me realize that a single person truly can make a difference in an issue they are passionate about as long as they are persistent. The speakers talked about challenging the norm and I think that is applicable because I am sure many people are against the palm oil crisis but the norm is to turn a blind eye. If people see that others feel the same way they do, then they are more willing to come out of their shells. As I consider the palm oil crisis, I have to consider how to get people to feel connected to the issue so that they will want to be involved. I think people are aware of the palm oil crisis but do not realize that they are contributing to it. My biggest take away from the discussion is that to be successful in community organizing there is an educational aspect of spreading awareness. The leaders have to go from a one-man group to a community bound by common goals. Personally, I would like to take action against the palm oil industry and stop using palm oil products and get others to stop as well. If I was able to, I think it would be interesting to have a palm oil free store within a community to not only spread awareness but to prove that palm oil in not necessary, because there are numerous alternative products. I also think the palm oil free stickers should be more widely used, because I would pay more for a product I knew was not harming orangutans and other species. Together a community can start a world of change.

Through the Lens: Community Organizing

Community organizing plays an important role in the context of my issue because the people are the best way to protect the lands being destroyed by the palm oil industry. If the people are invested in their community they will be the defenders of the local forests. A community organizer that has had a direct impact on this issue is Willie Smits. He is the founder Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Some challenges associated with community organizing would be getting a community to work together to reach a common goal, as well as having the money and resources to actually have an impact on changing the situation at hand. The most important thing to consider is that to have community organizing there has to be something beneficial for the people and a plan that people will believe can actually bring forward changes. Pertaining to the Justice-Oriented Citizen model, people are personally trying not to buy items containing palm oil because there are many alternatives that do not support the unsustainable industry.

There are many advocates against the palm oil industry that are trying to spread awareness, such as the palm oil free labels that are on some items in the stores. The social justice people are those that are addressing the root causes of the palm oil crisis and trying to fix them. The demand is too high which is why it has become unsustainable. There are palm oil tree farms but not enough to meet the demand. Willie Smits bought land in Borneo and created jobs to take the land from a biological desert to a forest again. The TED talk is How to Save a Rainforest given by Willie Smits. People think his work to save the orangutans is amazing, but he instead thinks it represents our failure to save them in the wild.

Pertaining to community organization, he created a place called Samboja Lestari, where he wanted to involve the local people and restore the rainforest. East Borneo, where it is located, had nothing due to the decline of agricultural productivity with resulted in 50% of people without jobs and a high crime rate. Willie realized that this was a place that could be turned around if there was a solid plan put into action. Not only is the land destroyed due to the deforestation from the palm oil industry, it also faces the issue of fires, which can also spread to the local people and destroy their homes and families. Willie knew that the people would protect the rainforest if it were providing them enough to live. Willies land provided 3,000 people with jobs.

They started to rebuild the forest by planting 1,000 trees a day, but also had to address the fire issue. The local people knew that sugar palms were fire resistant so they decided to make sugar palm rings to try and prevent fires from spreading. The sugar palms also provide a lot of income for the local people. Overall, Willie Smits is a prime example of how a single person can become a Social- Justice Oriented Citizen. His efforts have restored land in Borneo that would otherwise still be barren due to the deforestation from the palm oil industry.

Issue Exploration and Choice

Selecting a single issue was incredibly difficult. I am passionate about numerous issues, but there are also many more I know little about. After a lot of thinking, I narrowed it down to three options, all of which pertain to wildlife, since that is most closely related to my major.

The first issue I selected was the issue of pharmaceutical pollution. Chemical traces of drugs end up in the sewage system, which passes water into the aquatic ecosystems. This issue has led to increased hermaphroditism in frogs. This is relevant to society because if changes are not made, frogs could become extinct. Frogs are important because they are an indicator species. The presence of frogs in an ecosystem correlates with the habitat being healthy. This issue is based of the P of profit in the 3 P’s of sustainability because the pharmaceutical companies profit from the production of medicine, and the P of people can be applied because people rely on medicine. I personally find importance in this issue because I have a love for animals and think that humans contribute to the decline of too many species that would be thriving without our interference.

The next issue I selected was the palm oil crisis. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil obtained from the African palm oil tree. Since palm oil is found in a variety of products from food to shampoo, the demand is increasing. There is an agricultural aspect to palm oil, but the increased demand has led people to the rainforest. There destruction of the rainforest is taking away the homes of orangutans. Palm oil has two of the three P’s of sustainable, profit due to the industry and people based off the demand. This issue is important to society because people use products everyday that have palm oil in them, yet palm oil is not being grown sustainably. This issue is important to me because I love animals and want to help the orangutans survive in their natural habitat.

The last issue I selected was the plastic crisis and the affect it has on birds, specifically albatrosses. These incredible birds often eat plastic and debris from the ocean because they mistake it for food. Albatrosses, specifically, skim the water to get fish and other food, which results in the consumption of plastics floating in the water. The adults can regurgitate the plastic, but their chicks cannot. Relating to the 3 P’s of sustainability, the only one applicable to this crisis is profit for the plastic companies. This issue is important to society because it means that our waterways are overly polluted. This pollution is not only killing birds but also many other animals. I personally find this issue important because it can easily be fixed by recycling plastics.

Selecting an issue was difficult, but I ultimately decided to focus on the palm oil crisis because it is an issue I do not know a whole lot about. Although I find all of the issues I selected important, I think people are aware of the plastic crisis and I think it is harder to fix the pharmaceutical pollution. I feel like I, along with other people, can benefit the most from more knowledge about the palm oil crisis. Pertaining to the three P’s of sustainability, palm oil is profitable and people have created a demand for it, but it is harmful for the planet. The palm oil industry profits from the variety of products they produce with palm oil since it is not only used in household products but is also edible. People benefit from using the products they want, but many people are unaware of the crisis and what items they purchase that are contributing to the decline of the orangutan population. The palm oil industry attempted to farm palm oil trees, which was good for the planet, but the increased demand has led to unsustainable practices. I intend to explore this issue by researching the ways that the crisis has escalated and what products contain palm oil so that I can stop using them and help educate and encourage others to stop using palm oil products. I anticipate having issues finding the information I want, such as why palm oil is used over a sustainable ingredient. I also think it will be challenging to eliminate my use of all items containing palm oil and to get other people to follow in my footsteps. I am both afraid and curious to discover where palm oil is lurking in the everyday products I may be using, but also to discover the sustainable alternatives.

Columbus to do List Part 2

Picking a favorite place in German Village is nearly impossible. Each place has its unique qualities. Here is a little bit about some of the other places I visited.

Pistacia Vera: Even though Pistacia Vera is a French style cafe, it is located in German Village and has authentically french food. At first I was confused about why there would be a French cafe in German Village, but as soon as I tasted the macaroons and chocolate éclair, I completely forgot my confusion. I have actually been back since my first visit and enjoyed trying new flavors of macaroons. I recommend for people to visit at least once and try one of their many flavors of macaroons.


Book Loft: I had heard of the Book Loft even before I decided to go to OSU for college. No description of this place does it justice. I loved the beautiful garden walkway that leads to the entrance and I took my time through all 32 rooms of books. While I was there I purchased a hurt book, so that it could find a warm loving home. I definitely recommend all book lovers take the time to visit the Book Loft.


Thurman Cafe: There is a lot to do in German Village, so we had to stop and get lunch along the way. Thurman Cafe has been a part of German Village since 1942. They are most well known for their burgers, but I decided to try the fried pizza rolls because I was craving pizza. The atmosphere of the restaurant was enjoyable; there were signed dollar bills on the wall and the OSU football game playing in the background. I was slightly disappointed that they did not have giant Bavarian pretzels like the German restaurant back home, but the food was still made to my liking. I would recommend Thurman Cafe to anybody who is looking for a casual place to eat in German Village.


Winans: Although Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees was not on the original to do list, Olivia and I decided to add it to our list. The chocolate store has been run by a family that continues to pass it down to the next generations. The family is originally from Germany. All of the chocolate is still handmade today. I bought four different types of chocolate when I went and I have to say my favorite was the milk chocolate orange cream. I would recommend Winans to any chocolate lovers. It is a hidden gem in German Village.



If I absolutely had to pick one I would select The Book Loft because I love reading and have never been to a place anything like it. I learned that Columbus has maintained many of its cultural districts. They are not only maintained but also enjoyed by so many people of different heritages. This assignment has inspired me to want to discover more of Columbus so that I can have a deeper appreciation for the city as a whole. I would recommend that anybody looking to complete the same list take the time to explore other places in German Village that are not on the list.

Career Exploration


Career exploring and changing my mind is a never-ending process for me. Currently, I am at the point in my career exploration where I am narrowing down work and career options. My mother always told my brother and I to find what we love and make a job out of it. When I was thirteen, I started volunteering at the local zoo. Not only did I love being there but I was also really good at it. I know that sounds strange to be good at volunteering, but I was often times selected to help with special projects and other unique tasks. As a volunteer at a small zoo I was able to learn about numerous jobs, which thankfully helped me narrow down my field of interest. I volunteered as a part of the education department and loved teaching others about the zoo and conservation. This helped me build my foundation for my career exploration.


Through this workshop I learned what I always knew, that there is not a specific job meant for each person and that the most important aspect of the future is happiness. I learned that I have always wanted the same three things out of a job. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to make a difference, help others, and work with animals. Although I do not want to be a teacher like I did when I was younger, I still want to be an educator. My dream job is to be the Jane Goodall of lemurs, but I realize how unrealistic that it would be despite my love for lemurs. I plan to study abroad in Madagascar so that I can fulfill this dream for a brief moment in my life.


My RIASEC results are that I am a SIA. I am mostly social, investigative, and artistic. My strongest quality is social, followed by investigate and artistic. Selecting the letters was not very easy. As soon as social was described as valuing fairness along with helping and supporting others, I knew that was my strongest trait. I selected investigate as my second trait based more on my childhood, since I used to constantly question everything. Thirdly, I selected artistic because I enjoy using my imagination and expressing myself. I had a hard time deciding between artistic and realistic. I enjoy being hands on and working with people but I also enjoy being carefree. The artistic qualities in me overpowered my realistic senses.


ONet recommends I pursue a career in fields like teaching, psychology, or therapy. Although I am not directly interested in any of these careers they do align with my desire to help others and make a difference. All of the recommended careers are missing the animal aspect I am looking for in a career. None of my current career paths are on the recommended list. One could argue that I will most likely be a teacher but the untraditional kind. Director of a zoo or education director are likely too specific to be on the list. This career exploration assignment was interesting and it helps to get varying perspectives but it does not play a major role in my future. I realize there are a multitude of jobs that fulfill my desires but I have a goal in mind already that I plan to pursue.


Currently I am majoring in Zoology with a minor in education. I chose OSU because of the Zoology major, as well as the opportunities at the university and at Columbus Zoo. I am a camp in instructor at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where I lead educational programs. I plan to continue working at a zoo after college. I will likely look for a job in the Education department once I graduate from OSU. My original plan was to start working after I get my bachelors. I intended on doing a working masters. My masters would be in business in the hopes of becoming the director of a zoo. To be a director, you need 5-7 years of experience at a zoo, which is why I was going to look for a job right away. Since I am now planning on graduating in three years, I am unsure of my plans. I would love to open up my own zoo or sanctuary. Despite the financial difficulties to that, there are many facilities that are struggling to stay open. More realistically, I may look into directing a zoo or sanctuary that needs help. I want to make a difference, no matter how small.