CRIS Tree of Hope Mural

I participated in the end of semester service event, CRIS Tree of Hope Mural at Columbus Global Academy on Saturday December 1st. The International Affairs Scholars organized and designed a mural for the hallway inside the Columbus Global Academy, which was funded by The Ohio State University donors. The students that go to Columbus Global Academy are only children from refugee families organized by Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). The children are able to learn English and practice skills to adapt to living in a new country. The Mural includes two walls, the main wall with the tree and a second wall with the word ‘library’ written in different languages. The mural was designed by IA students, Anne Knellinger and Zoe Sikon. The design incorporates a tree centered in the middle of the wall with animals surrounding the tree. Each of the animals are from different children’s stories from the countries of the refugee students that go to the school. Some of the animals include a crane with a crown, a black spider, a fox, a sleeping leopard, a large snake, and a tinty turtle. These animal stories were chosen to help create a connection for the children to recognize and relate to things from their home country. The mural process included taping and laying down of tarps to protect the wall and floor from paint, tracing of the digital image that was projected on to the wall, and then painting of the images with the correct colors according to the designed photo. This not the first mural painted by IA Scholars inside the school, and included before a mural with international flags. The murals are a small service adding to the improvement of the lifestyle and views of refugees within our country. This event is pertinent to international affairs and to the community as it deals with the refugee crisis within the United States and how Columbus and Ohio State is able to be involved in helping refugee families in other ways. I enjoyed my time working on the mural and learning about the cultural connections that will be portrayed in the new artwork and how it will brighten the school environment.


White Helmets Short Documentary

I attended the Documentary Showing of “The White Helmets” with Sam S. on Monday, November 5th that fulfills Academic requirement. The event was impactful, by informing more about the turmoil that is currently occurring in Syria. ISIS is located on the ground and the Russian planes are above creating violence, from small multiple bombings that create more damage and the powerful larger bombs. The White Helmets are volunteer civilians in the Syrian Civil Defense that provide aid after bombings and violence in Syria. Formed in 2013, the organization has 2,900 civilians working in 120 centers across the country. They are actively putting their life in danger to help other people. The risk of dying is high and many of the white helmets peers friends have lost their lives yet they continue with their work. More than 130 white helmets have been killed but in the same period, they have saved over 58,000 lives. The short documentary follows men who are apart of the same unit, Khalid Farrah, Mohammed Farrah, Abu Omar, and Raed Saleh. The White Helmet volunteers have no prior rescue experience. They receive a month-long training of courses in Turkey to help them cope and learn more about the proper ways to best save people after the bombings. The training included tool usage, searching techniques, and safety procedures.They are brave and selfless people that care for all of the victims as if they are their own innocent family. The violence of the war was shown but also emotionally uplifting parts. Lives were lost but also saved, most memorably being the saving of the miracle baby, found still alive after a bombing underneath toppled walls and ceilings. Still living now and shown in later scenes as a toddler that gives the men hope and joy.

The documentary was a representation of the effects of the political policies and war on the actual people within the country. It showed the emotional and personable connections that are impacting real people within the Syrian War. War is in International issue that involves more than just one country and affects many people around it. It involves international relations and diplomacy between the directly involved parties and the countries that are indirectly partaking in the issue. Involving factors in the war in which many countries are taking sides on each side of the war. Some countries including the United States, siding with the Syrian opposition and countries like Russia siding with the current Ba’athist government. The separation of sides displays the conflict between the people within Syria and between the countries taking different sides will have disagreement.

Academically, I learned more about the Syrian war and its detriments to the people. The documentary was stimulating and enjoyable and I was able to expand more on the relationships of war. I was intrigued by the ability to follow these men into their dangerous volunteer work, video documenting actual bombings right beside them into the buildings. Instead of receiving a removed American opinion viewing a war in a middle-eastern country thats affects seem far from the United States, the documentary was able to present the emotional connections and issues in the Syrian War through the White Helmets.

International Affairs Scholars Mini-Involvement Fair

I attended the IA Mini-Involvement fair outside Smith-Steeb on Thursday October 25th. The fair was organized by IA scholars Sam Harris and Kelsie Parker which incorporated clubs that are related to the scholar’s program. I enjoyed the environment of a smaller and more intimate involvement fair. It was much easier to discuss with all the club’s representatives involved, I had time to ask questions and get their personal opinions. This smaller size helped simplify the overwhelming involvement fair from the begging of the year, that had too many different clubs and choices. These clubs were related to international affairs and world issues. Some of the clubs at the fair included, Student Leadership Advocates, MUNDO, Public Affairs Multicultural Student Organization (PAMSO), and Collegiate Council of World Affairs. Each club separately focuses on the involvement of international issues in different ways through meetings, competitions, travel, and service opportunities. The Collegiate Council of World fairs has three different types of involvement just within the club. CCWA includes, Model United Nations where the students come together from different schools to imitate the situations of working within the UN, Alger Magazine which focuses on the journalism and writing information surrounding world affairs, and UNA-USA which focuses on the importance of relations about the UN. PAMSO is a club that focuses on brining all different students to discuss topics related to diversity and inclusion. Recently they just held a combined discussion with Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent (POWER), right before election time with a panel discussing women in politics across the spectrum. MUNDO is residential life initiative and student organization that is involved in social change at the local, national and global level using service, learning and leadership. MUNDO holds meetings every Mondays and also plans additional events that are held within the Columbus community and abroad. MUNDO offers a lot of travel experience and learning for its members. They have many study abroad programs every year that can be applied for. One of the current programs is Castles, Celts and Curries: Multicultural Histories and Legacies of the UK, a trip to the United Kingdom, which takes place during the summer term study. They also provided information with ways to help pay for those study abroad opportunities, through many scholarships from Ohio State and outside scholarships for each type of student. Student Leadership Advocates is a club that focuses on helping the development of leadership in clubs in the Ohio State community. I was able to learn a lot about the opportunities to join clubs on campus and about the future events that will partake in the Spring semester. I was unsure about what types of clubs to get involved with and how to do so, and this Mini-Involvement fair has helped give me more insight. Personally, I want to be more involved in my community and I am glad for this closer opportunity to look into clubs that focus on my interests and issues related to world affairs like within the International Affairs scholars program. I am looking forward to going to these clubs’ future meetings and discussions.

Columbus Crossing Borders Project: Breathe Free Documentary and Panel

I attended the Columbus Crossing Borders Project: Breathe Free Documentary and Panel on September 16th at the Gateway Film Center which fulfilled the Non-IA Community requirement. The documentary was interesting and surrounded the topic about refugees in the world and how the Columbus community was connected. The main idea of the documentary was about the production of a large collaborative piece of art in which over 40 artists came together to show some part of the issue of refugees in the world. The final work consisted of multiple paintings all in different styles that flowed into the next painting to create this whole art piece. It was interesting to see the techniques used to incorporate and communicate their ideas together to create the finished product with such a large number of artists included in the production. The documentary was able to show the background about the project, but I wish there was an opportunity to have seen the finished exhibition in person. The artists are from the Columbus area and collaborated with the Community Refugee & Immigration Services to connect with refugees in Columbus to inspire their art. I support the bringing to light of the issues about refugees but am concerned about the representation of their stories. One artist asked, “does my work represent what Syria looked before you left it”, to which a boy replied with “it is close”. I enjoyed the artwork of the Columbus artists but feel that artwork that is directly from refugees would have been more powerful and representative of their stories.

My favorite part of the documentary was when the father of a refugee family was talking with his young daughter of age seven about their daily bedtime ritual. Usually he would sing religious hymns to her each night, but as it was nearing Christmas she asked for a Christmas song to be sung instead. She wanted him to memorize the songs and sing them back to her, but not for the purpose of enjoyment but so that President Trump would not deport her father and mother back to Nepal and leave her and her younger brother alone if he appeared more American. The father told her it was his job to worry about that stuff not her. I was impacted by the fear and stress that such young children should not have to bear at such an age, this instance just emphasized with me the issue of refugees in our country. The United States refugee policy under Donald Trump is very restricting and the quota has been dramatically reduced compared to past years. I hope that through information like this documentary the United States can improve its policies relating to refugees.

The panel afterwards was also interesting as I was able to meet the people interviewed and who helped create the documentary in person. The panel was directed by a reporter from the local paper and allowed for discussion on personal experiences extending past the video and to more information on the support and creation of the whole project. It was nice to know the purposes behind their involvement and see some of the passion they held for the issue through a first-person experience. The documentary and panel expanded my views and knowledge about the issues on refugees in the world and in the United States. I am glad I attended this event as I was able to learn more and to empathize more with the issue of refugees by learning directly from the people and getting to know the personal stories behind them.


[“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 guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation includes both a description of the artifact and a reflection on why it is important to you, what you learned, and what it means for your next steps.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me

[Your “About Me” is a brief biographical statement that might include your intended major, your academic interests, your goals, as well as the things that make you unique.  Definitely include a picture! Also, remember that you can always update this post at any point. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “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 guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email 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.]