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This has been a year of unparalleled growth for me. And I think I speak for all freshmen when I say that not one of us is the same person we were in August. Since moving to Columbus and beginning a completely new life at Ohio State, I have challenged myself academically and opened my mind to new beliefs and lifestyles. I have discovered new hobbies and passions that I never imagined I would pursue in high school. I have met amazing new friends and been incredible new places. I have pushed my comfort zone socially and sometimes pushed myself to the limit mentally.
I look back and think: already in this school year, I have encountered so many extraordinary people, traveled out of the country, survived a nightmare election, influenced university and state level policy, acquired leadership positions in student organizations, and explored the city of Columbus. And I still have three years left.
I am so grateful to Ohio State for being so big and diverse. Without these qualities, I would not have received the opportunities that I did. I’m so, so ready for three more years.
[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.
Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]
[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career. Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]
FALL SEMESTER 2016
The Undergraduate Student Government
I knew I wanted to be deeply involved with at least one student organization during my time on campus. At the beginning of my freshman year, I was already a member of the International Affairs Scholars program. At the Involvement Fair, I decided to put my name in for a couple of other groups and see what happened. Luckily, I was contacted by the Undergraduate Student Government a few days into the semester and invited to apply. I did have one advantage that no other student did; my sister was chief-of-staff. But if USG accepted me, I wanted it to be because I had a strong case as an individual, not because of anything my sister did.
One month later, I was an official representative for the Academic Affairs committee and I had my first project. I was also a member of the Interns program within USG, a first year leadership team. I was working hard to improve my university and making new, amazing friends while I did it. I was falling in love with making a difference on campus.
Undergraduate Student Government is an incredible group because of its goals, its abilities, and its social structure. The organization is built so people are constantly meeting each other, working together, and forming lasting friendships. USG also has the opportunity to make legitimate change at OSU; many ideas that originated in USG have become university policy over the years. I cannot wait to see my first piece of legislation introduced in the spring.
Toronto: Fall Break 2016
I went into this trip with no expectations. The International Affairs Scholars were going to Toronto, a city that I love, and I wanted to tag along. Little did I know that I would experience one of the best school trips I’ve ever been on over fall break.
Not only did I explore the streets and neighborhoods of the most international city in the world, eat delicious Canadian food, and experience numerous cultures, but I also met many of fellow scholars, people I never thought I would talk to. Because our nights were free, we got creative together in coming up with ways to explore and dive deep into the city. We got a taste of the local comedy scene at a stand-up show, and we found an underground swing dance club just one short subway ride from downtown. And I will always remember the people I met while doing these things, people who, like me, were anxious to truly experience Toronto and what makes the city unique.
SPRING SEMESTER 2017
Dance at Ohio State
I am a very fortunate soul in the sense that I have extra time in my schedule to take some dessert classes. For me, dance is how I choose to fulfill my opportunity to participate in fun electives, and this semester, I signed up for a Contemporary course.
Contemporary dance is very much up for interpretation; the exposure students receive to this style is completely dependent on their instructor. My teacher, Angelica, had a dance background deeply rooted in ballet, so the contemporary skills that I learned centered very much around ballet technique.
We covered everything in Contemporary, from fundamentals to improvisation to choreography. A few of my classmates and I completed a project where we got to create our own piece. After several weeks of brainstorming, dancing, and editing, our final product was an eerie, unhinged number to the song “Burn The Witch” by Radiohead.
I believe that my passion for dance shows people that it is never too late to start a new hobby. I wish I discovered dance earlier in my life, but alas, I am nineteen and just now getting started with elementary ballet and contemporary. I’m not ashamed to be a beginner at my age, though, and I don’t think anyone should be. It should only matter that you love what you do, and I love dancing because it provides me, a busy college student, with an artistic and emotional outlet and time to care for myself every day.
The Seal of Biliteracy
I heard about the Seal of Biliteracy through a Spanish teacher at my high school. Already implemented in many other states, the seal is a small sticker on high school diploma or transcript that indicates to employers and universities that a student has achieved proficiency in a second language. This teacher virtually changed my life by inviting me to testify for the Seal at the Ohio Statehouse in May 2016. I immediately agreed, because I realized that this initiative would avow Ohio’s values for diversity and multiculturalism. It also had the potential to make Ohio students even more valuable in the global job market, where the 21st century skill of bilingualism is highly valued.
I am a firm believer that the ability to speak a second language is one of the most valuable assets that one can get out of their education. When you learn how to communicate with an entirely new echelon of people, your mind opens to new values, beliefs and ways of life. You gain a new understanding of our planet’s diversity and the beauty in human connection. You learn not only to tolerate, but to appreciate and love the people of the world. When I was an exchange student in Germany, I witnessed how hard people from other countries work to be able to communicate with us. I strongly believe that Americans must afford people around the world this same respect, an area in which we are falling short as a country.
I saw the chance to testify to our representatives as an opportunity to call attention to America’s weak emphasis on foreign language education, as issue I now hope to work on for the remainder of my life.
Delivering my speech to the Ohio House Education Committee was a very empowering experience. I got to speak a bit of German for the representatives, so they knew what a proficient student sounded like. After the session, many congressmen and women approached me to talk about their connections with the German language and culture, and even to speak German with me in some cases. It was so reassuring to see that many of our representatives were very supportive of the Seal of Biliteracy.
In the months after this experience at the Ohio Statehouse, I was interviewed by several media outlets, from local Columbus stations and OSU newsletters to National Public Radio! The Seal of Biliteracy was signed into law on Feburary 3, 2017 by our governor, John Kasich. When I heard the news, I cried.
The Seal of Biliteracy will be put into effect at the high school level for Classes of 2017 across the state of Ohio; however, I can’t help but think that our work to improve foreign language education in America is far from finished. Through my position as Director of Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Student Government, I have begun work on a university level Seal of Biliteracy to encourage college students to take their language studies seriously. Hopefully in a few months, I’ll be writing another artifact update about progress on this project.
Academic Affairs Committee 2016-2017
This year was an incredibly productive and fun year for USG’s Academic Affairs Committee, a group that I am fortunate enough to be part of. Led by the man, the myth, the Cleveland sports fanatic, our director Samer Abusway, we reached new milestones in research on academic topics, such as study abroad affordability, survey course material, standardized attendance policy, and merit scholarships for older students. We published a report on textbook affordability, a database of links to student-nominated teaching awards, and multiple academic resolutions in General Assembly. I had the opportunity to lead projects for the Seal of Biliteracy and the first ever collection of data on access codes at Ohio State, and I also made some of my best friends in college.
Our biggest victory, however, came in University Senate. The Academic Affairs committee gave USG the tools and research that it needed to create a shared governance proposal for a monumental resolution, “A Resolution to Increase Textbook Affordability by Encouraging Timely Ordering.” A summary of the resolution: Ohio State students waste copious amounts of money every year because most faculty members don’t submit their textbook orders to Barnes and Noble by the federally mandated deadline. As Barnes and Noble is forced to expedite shipping so the proper textbooks arrive in time for the new semester, they are also forced to increase prices. This piece of legislation will save students approximately $2.5 million by bringing faculty attention to this problem and holding them accountable for submitting their orders on time. The resolution passed unanimously among faculty, administrators, and students alike. In the words of President Drake, “Who here opposes affordability for our students?” It was a major victory for the university and, thanks to the hard work of Samer, a project that started in our committee.
I have big shoes to fill as Samer, USG’s resident expert on textbook affordability, moves up to the Chief of Staff position and I take on the role of Director of Academic Affairs. However, I am confident that he will keep giving our committee the support and advice we need to continue the conversation about textbook affordability and other academic affairs topics at Ohio State’s highest administrative levels. I am so grateful for the amazing people I’ve met and the amazing progress we’ve made this year. 2017-2018 is fast approaching, and I cannot wait to get back to work.
Kathleen Greer, first-year student from Hudson, Ohio, became a Baby Buckeye in March 2016. She is now wondering why her first year in Columbus flew by so quickly and contemplating what it means to no longer be #new2osu. As a small freshman, Kate made the absolute most of the bountiful opportunities at Ohio State by joining the International Affairs Scholars program and Undergraduate Student Government (USG). She is now the Director of Academic Affairs for USG, a teaching assistant for IA, and a student representative on the University Council on Academic Affairs and Arts and Sciences Alumni Society Board.
Kate is a history and German double major. She loves German history and would be happy to talk about it for a very time. In fact, Germany plays a very big role in Kate’s life. She was the president of her high school German Club and a two-time exchange student in Germany during her sophomore and senior years of high school. Kate is currently an active member of The German Club at the Ohio State University. After graduating from The Ohio State University, Kate hopes to become an English and history teacher in Germany. Ironically, Kate’s family is not even German.
Traveling and cultural anthropology play a very important role in Kate’s life, as do music, literature, theater, and art of any kind. Kate has been to Canada, England, Germany, Austria, and Croatia; her favorite international city in the whole entire world is Toronto, Ontario. She prefers exploring cultures and speaking with locals to sightseeing and being a tourist. The German culture remains her favorite.
While Kate is an avid traveler and constantly talks everyone’s ear off about places like Germany and Toronto, she is above all in love with the city of Cleveland, Ohio, her home base. The food, the people, the neighborhoods, the spirit, and the sports cannot be matched by any other part of the world. Kate would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals.
Hobby wise, Kate loves dancing ballet and contemporary. She also plays the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, and the trumpet. Kate also listens to music almost ceaselessly and has a dangerous obsession with Twenty One Pilots and Radiohead. If she could meet anyone ever, it would probably be President Drake, Malala Yousafzai, or Thom Yorke, so she can ask him what “Kid A” means, because it often keeps her up at night.
Catch Kate in the Student Center for Leadership and Service in the Ohio Union working to make textbooks more affordable, in the Grand Reading Room at Thompson Library geeking out over history things, or in the Maudine Cow Room in the Ohio Union with her amazing Academic Affairs committee. Her email address is email@example.com if you would like to talk about USG, Germany, Cleveland, shared governance, or Radiohead lyrics.