Anti-Asian Racism After Atlanta

April 15, 2021

Today I attended an event put on by the Asian American Studies Program called “Anti-Asian Racism After Atlanta: Assessing the Moment” featuring Joey Kim, PhD.; Arun Venugopal; Joe Ponce, PhD.; and Molly Jasina. Doctor Kim spoke about how the media “suddenly” switching to cover anti-Asian hate crimes suggests the false idea that such events are new. They are “built-in to the country’s culture,” she argued. Anti-Asian hate is not new at all and the wide spectrum of Asian stereotypes in the U.S. only add to the hate. Ohio State student Molly Jasina added her experience of being adopted from China into a white family and how she didn’t have meaningful conversations about race until she got to college. Her words really spoke to me since we are similar ages.

This event made me think about my white privilege and how the discrimination the Asian community faces are often downplayed because they are seen as the model minority. I often feel like I am not the right person to talk about anti-racism or current racially-charged events, because I don’t think I have the right words or knowledge for it. Even Dr. Kim acknowledged that marginalized voices, especially queer Asian women, are still silenced, and I don’t want to add to the silencing. Attending events like these allow me to learn about how the people affected by these events feel, while I am learning how to share information while not speaking over others.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Mary Rodriguez

April 7, 2021

In this Faculty Spotlight, Dr. Mary Rodriguez spoke about her research, travel experiences, and her journey to becoming a professor of agriculture at Ohio State. She went to college in Texas and Florida, and travelled to Cameroon through the Peace Corps. All of her work was focused on agriculture, but she always put a “gender lens” on everything she did. Women, agriculture, and food security are connected through a concept called time poverty. Women are often in charge of keeping a family and a household running, and their time is very important. Finding faster ways to gather water or prepare food is essential to their families’ quality of life.

I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Rodriguez talked about her experiences. She is very passionate and her talk really inspired me to travel. I already planned on studying abroad in South America and Europe, but I am considering taking a gap year before going to law school. I loved how she has combined her passions of women’s empowerment, food security, and teaching into one career. One message I learned from Dr. Rodriguez is that you are only young once and you should take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you.

U.S. Support for LGBTI Rights Abroad from Obama to Trump

March 25, 2021

Today I attended a Zoom event called “U.S. Support for LGBTI Rights Abroad from Obama to Trump.” Dr. Cynthia Burack, a feminist political theory and sexuality studies professor at OSU, shared information about LGBTI rights and how support for the group has changed over time. I was surprised to hear that when Trump took over office, the U.S. did not pull out of international agreement to have and protect SOGI rights. I also didn’t know what SOGI rights were prior to this event, and I learned that they are “laws that ban disagreement on LGBT issues by enforcing a sexual orthodoxy and treat reasonable actions as discriminatory.” I would have expected Trump to disagree with these rights based on his religious views, but there was actually more stability than change in this area during his presidency.

As someone in this group, I felt a little hopeful after this event. I liked how Burack noted the stability here from president to president. Of course, while Obama was president gay marriage was legalized and Trump’s views seemed very opposite, so learning there was more similarities than I thought was shocking but slightly comforting. Overall this was an interesting topic that I now know a little more about. I will use this knowledge in my study of further laws in this area, and other areas as I continue preparing for law school.

Our Country is Full: Roots and Consequences of America’s 1921 Immigration Act 100 Years Later

February 23, 2021

Today I attended a webinar titled “Our Country is Full: Roots and Consequences of America’s 1921 Immigration Act 100 Years Later.” The panel included Ashley Johnson Bavery, Eastern Michigan University; Linda Gordon, New York University; and Alexandra Minna Stern, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. They focused on the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the 1924 Immigration Act, and the effects they still have today. One example of this that Gordon explained was the similarities between the Ku Klux Klan and modern white nationalists. There has always been an anti-immigrant voice in the United States. It has fluctuated between quiet and loud throughout the years but it is still there. I think this comparison is accurate and is something I often see in social media. Bavery talked about how Border Patrol used to protect the northern border and most Americans were strongly against it. It brought up questions about how to protect our borders, and whether we need protection there at all. These questions are still being asked today.

I really enjoyed this event, especially what Bavery said about the formation of the Border Patrol. I felt it was informational and still engaging. I still plan on becoming an immigration attorney, and learning about the history of immigration in the United States is important for my education.

Buckeye Bridge Series: Peace Corps

February 9, 2021

I attended the Buckeye Bridge Series: Peace Corps webinar. Jeannie Simmons who works in education abroad at Ohio State, Laura Jospeh who is the Peace Corps recruiter at Ohio State, and Tim Hornsby who also works in education abroad at Ohio State all spoke about the Peace Corps in general and why students should consider joining. The Peace Corps involves working for two years overseas in a low to medium-income communities, focusing on any one of six areas. The six areas of focus are agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth in development. Innovation, creativity, and flexibility are excellent qualities to have in the Peace Corps, or just in life, according to Jospeh. Hornsby talked about his experience building sidewalks and redesigning computer labs in Moldova with the Peace Corps. One common theme through his experiences was teaching the locals how to do things for themselves because the Peace Corps won’t always be there. It’s like teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. I thought this concept was really interesting and it made me think about education abroad differently.

Prior to this webinar, I really didn’t know anything about the Peace Corps. I am definitely interested in study abroad, but I am still unsure if the Peace Corps is for me or not. If I did want to do it, I would be most interested in community economic development or youth in development. This session was very helpful and I always like learning about different options for my future.

Interviewing Workshop with CCSS

February 2, 2021

Today I attended a workshop put on by Ryan Wilhelm from Career Counseling and Support Services (CCSS) that provided information on the job search process, specifically interviewing. The first step in preparing for an interview is to research the company, especially what will be expected of you in that position and what they value in an employee. The next step is to figure out what you want the interviewer to know about you. In general, you want them to know what hard and soft skills you have, the motivation or passion you have for the job or field, and why you think you’ll be a good fit. Create your “bank of answers” before hand and find ways to fit those into the interview where it makes sense. The next item you should prepare is knowing what the interviewer wants to know, and finally think about the space and technology you will be using.

One thing I really took away from this session is that experiences can come from anywhere. I often think that I need traditional job experience to be qualified to even apply, but skills and experience can come from volunteering, the classes you have taken, or even I also learned that going into depth in your answers is key, as it will provide a lot more information about you as a person and the transferrable skills you might have than just explaining the surface-level of your experience. Giving a specific answer to why you want that job is also important. For example, why do you want to be a dental hygienist vs. a dentist? Talking about your passion for that specific job will help you stand out. I really learned a lot from this workshop and I feel more prepared for my next interview.

IA Alumni Panel

November 4, 2020

This was an event that I wanted to attend but already had a commitment that night, so I am very grateful that it was recorded. One of the alumni on this panel was Samantha Harris. I had heard amazing things about her and I was so excited to watch this event. She was very involved during her time at OSU and now attends Harvard Law School. I also want to go to law school after my time at Ohio State so hearing what she had to say was very helpful for me. It was great to hear about how she bounced around before she found her specific path in law. Also on the panel was Alex Northrop, Courtney Johnson, and Brandon. Brandon took awhile to find what he wanted to do and he moved all around Ohio before landing back in Columbus. Courtney had to work in federal service for a year since she took a Boren scholarship trip to India. I personally have thought about applying for the Boren scholarship, but Spanish is not one of the critical languages and that is what I am most interested in studying. Alex worked at a nonprofit in Latin America and is now in med school. It was really awesome to hear about all of the different paths people take and how they incorporate international affairs into their career. My main take away from this alumni panel is that it’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do, whether it’s in a specific field of law or a whole career.

Social Activism in Government

October 27. 2020

I attended a Zoom debate where State Representative Erica Crawley and Franklin Country Commissioner Kevin Boyce, among others, tackled the question “How does social activism impact government?” This is a large and difficult task, but it was an informative and lively discussion. One issue they explained is how difficult it is to pass legislation when only one side is interested. When only one group is trying to make a change, while the other group doesn’t even want to listen, nothing will get done.

One speaker talked about how it’s hard to describe the trauma and daily struggles to people who don’t experience it. I do not experience the intersectionality of being a Black woman in America, but I am a woman. The struggles I face of trying to get people to take me seriously and constantly being sexualized by society are difficult to describe to men. I have tried so many times to explain the pains of being a women to men in my life and they never believe me. They often say how women legally have the same rights as men so the gender discrimination simply can’t happen. It’s incredibly frustrating. I know I don’t face the 400 years of structural racism that the speaker discussed multiple times, but I can relate to being a woman and understand a small percentage of the struggle.

Another topic they discussed is that “ally” is a verb. A lot of people, including myself, just say that they are an ally and think that’s all they need to do. You need to show through your words and actions everyday that you are an ally. You can’t just decide one day that you’re an ally. You need to continually show it and keep learning about how you can be better. This is something I remind myself of everyday. Overall, this discussion was very educational, and it gave me a lot to think about and evaluate in my own life.

Community Meeting

October 28, 2020

I attended a community meeting where Dr. Inés Valdez spoke about her experiences and her role at Ohio State. She has been very involved at the university and in the world. She is the director of the Latina/o Studies program at Ohio State and she teaches classes such as Introduction to Human Rights (IS 3450) and Racial Capitalism (PS 7410). She used to teach other classes about immigration and feminism. Dr. Valdez has also published two books and is currently writing another book about empire, labor, migration, and the reproduction of western democracy.

I really enjoyed hearing from Dr. Valdez. She has been able to contribute her own research and arguments to the worldwide conversation. In her books, she focuses on differences in race, gender, and religion and how it relates to political theory. This is a concept I had not really considered before hearing her speak. I am interested in working in immigration law some day, so I think it is important that I think about how different policies affect different groups of people. It was also great to hear about how she has continued to research well into her adult life. I often think about college as the last opportunity I have to learn and that isn’t true. Lifelong learning is important and I think Dr. Valdez is a great example of that.




Current Events Catch-Up

October 25, 2020

I went to the Current Events Catch-Up hosted by Samantha Zimmerman. It was a laid back environment where we learned about various topics and had the chance to respond after each short presentation was done. One issue that we discussed was the hashtag #endSARS going viral recently. Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a policing group in Nigeria that is known for abuse and has existed for three decades. A video of a shooting surfaced on October 4th, bringing light to this issue once again. Another related hashtag was trending: #LekkiMassacre. On the night of October 20th, protesters were singing the national anthem at the Lekki toll gate when the lights suddenly went out and Nigerian security forces began shooting, killing 10 and injuring hundreds more. Nigeria has been ruled by civilians for 21 years now and it is unclear where the country is headed, but it doesn’t look like the protests will end soon. I had never heard of SARS before this hashtag and I think it is interesting how widely it spread. I think it really speaks to the power of social media and how quickly it can raise awareness.

Some other topics that were discussed include Polish President Andrzej Duda testing positive for COVID-19. He isn’t experiencing symptoms but he apologized to everyone he had come into contact with in the days preceding his positive test result. In addition, Spain imposed a new curfew to try and stop the spread of the virus. The curfew is in effect from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and comes right as the country is experiencing a second wave of infections.