This month, I volunteered with my fellow CCWA members, and put on a high school Model United Nations Conference. OSUMUN (Ohio State University Model United Nations) took place Friday, April 5th through Sunday April 7th. I served as a chair for the crisis committee title Gangs of Chicago. Not only did I learn a lot about how to run high school Model United Nations conference, but the discussion I had with other chairs and staffers of different committees gave me knowledge I wouldn’t have otherwise known.

The conference started on Friday around 6. Though the opening speech from a professor lacked some focus, it did inspire me to give the conference my all. What was really cool to me was watching high schoolers partake in a conference when I would have sat in their seats a year ago. Words can’t describe the feeling of looking at those who fill in the spots you left behind when you go on to new parts of your life. Committee the first day got intense quickly and set the stage for the next day.

The second day started at 8 am, but the provided bagels and coffee made it all worth it. Chairing a high school committee was something I was as much excited for as I was nervous. However, my nerves did not get the best of my and I enjoyed the whole experience. As the committee got more complicated with everyone working their own crisis arcs, the debate got more intense. Since it was a crisis committee, rather than a standard General Assembly, we were able to contribute more to the debate if it ever got stale. Twice, we gave the high schoolers a set amount of time to decide an issue which would completely alter the course of events in the committee. The first time, when told them a mob was outside and they had an hour to decide a new mayor among them. Both times they were pressed for time, the debate got better and we were able to see which among them really stood out as an excellent delegate. This day, I also got to experience writing crisis notes back to delegates rather than chairing. This was extremely fun for me, as I was having a real impact on the “history” the delegates were creating.

Perhaps my favorite day of committee was the last. The first couple hours were full of debate, but the last hour was much more laid back. We decided to end a little early so the high schoolers could ask question about what life was like at The Ohio State University. My time at OSU has been great so far, so getting to share reminded me of all the amazing experiences I’ve had.

For me, OSUMUN showed me a side of Model UN I hadn’t seen before. Seeing the drive and determination of high school students was a reminder as to why I first joined MUN, beyond an interest in international affairs. It was also a chance for me to reconnect with fellow CCWA members I hadn’t seen in a while. All in all, it was an extremely rewarding experience.

Climate Change & Environmental Issues, Part II

This month, I decided to go to the second part of the Environmental Issues panel. Unfortunately, I had to leave a little bit early, I wasn’t able to hear the last of the three speakers, but I found the first two extremely interesting.

We live in a time where climate change is a serious global threat. However, I feel like I constantly hear about governments falling short of their promises to “go green” or completely taking back their promises. The first speaker was Cathy Becker, who works for the Ohio Sierra Club. What I enjoyed about the first speaker was how dedicated Becker and the people she worked with were towards making Columbus, and eventually the rest of the world, environmentally sound. I personally I’m very worried that we will be able to come back from all the damage humans have done to the earth. I appreciate her efforts to work towards this goal, and it gives me hope that we will be able to reduce our carbon emissions. Though I wish she went deeper into what each event she put on entailed, I am grateful for all the work that she has done. She passed around a petition, which I signed. Becoming more involved in working towards turning the tides on climate change is something I need to do. I wish more individuals had showed up to the meeting so there could be even more people in support of the organization she works with, 100% Columbus. I was also glad to see how many governors are still committed to working towards the goals set with the Paris Accords even though Trump backed out of the agreement.

The second speaker I also found super interesting as well, however I wish she was more interactive with the audience. Kate Bartter who works with the Sustainability Institute, had so much information on The Ohio State University’s role with sustainability. I found it extremely interesting that the most energy efficient building on campus was the James Cancer Hospital.

As for the third speaker, I had to leave early for a presentation with another club on campus. Despite not hearing him speak, I looked up Serdar Tufekci, who works with the Ohio State Energy Partners, LLC. I am glad to see this work to be throughout all different parts of the University and Columbus.

Though I have put some thought to it in the past, these speakers got me thinking about how The Ohio State University is really trying to work towards attaining a more environmentally friendly campus. I took a ceramics class last semester, and they had committed to not using any paper towels in the building. I also have noticed the efforts that dorm halls have been making towards having a more environmentally sound campus, such as turning off lights in bathrooms and in dorm rooms, using less paper towels, etc. Though there is still a lot to be done, it is nice to see all the work going towards slowing, and eventually reversing, global warming.

Korean Festival

This semester, I had the opportunity to attend the Korean Festival put on by Ohio State Students. This was particularly interesting me because my roommate is Korean, and since I know little about the culture, I am trying to learn more. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision to go. I had spent the day at COSI for a project for my astronomy class. Then I went to Sloopy’s with my friends that went to COSI with me. One of them had to leave to go to the Korean Festival, and thinking it sounded cool, we both decided to go. Throughout the presentation, I got to see various musical acts, Taekwondo, and several different types of dance. The show also had mini breaks that featured the Korean drama created by Ohio State students. My roommate watches Korean dramas all the time, and it was really cool to see something that she really relates to. As she wasn’t able to attend the show herself, I recommended the show as soon as I got back to our dorm room.

My favorite part of the show was when one of the narrators of the show took a break from the narrating and did a duet with a guy playing a guitar. Not only was it really cute, but the song also featured both Korean and English. I feel that this blend of languages reflects the lives of many of the Korean-American students at The Ohio State University.

I also got to see a presentation that feature a combination of drums. Though the beats were a little intense for me, it showed me that the Korean Festival was a community event. There were older participants in this part of the show.

I also really enjoyed the Taekwondo that Ohio State students presented. What I found interesting about this part, was the majority of students participating were white and not Korean. This wasn’t the only part of the show that featured non-Korean students. A group of students sang several K-Pop songs together. Two of the students weren’t Korean, but that didn’t stop them from rapping in Korean. Being able to speak another language is one thing but being able to rap in another language is an entirely different level. Though Korean culture is most likely not their native culture, it is amazing to see how much they embraced it and how passionate they are about showing their love for anything Korean to the rest of the world. During this, I looked over at one of my friends, who was singing along to the song. I was in awe. I knew she listens to BTS, a really famous K-Pop boyband, but I had no idea she could sing along to the songs.

Overall, it was cool to see how supportive the student body was as the room was completely packed. Experiencing a culture that I know little about was also extremely exciting. When I got back to the dorm, I told my roommate everything.




I found the movie Roma to be extremely interesting. Though at times it felt a bit dry, the filming truly captured the actions of everyday life. It might not have been my favorite movie of all time, but as it did feel extremely real, it was powerful. Through the many relationships presented in the film ideas of youth, womanhood, family, and society.

Though set in Mexico City in 1970-71, a history I am not familiar with, I can relate to the societal pressures in the film. Comparisons can be drawn between the relationship of Cleo, the maid, and the employing family and maids and families in American culture. It is clear that though Cleo remains on the other side of the divide, she has become part of the family. You can see it when the kids interact with her, and how the mother responds when Cleo tells her she is pregnant. I have family in California, and their maid has recently retired, but when I was little and when my cousins were growing up, she was a very important part out their family’s life. She came to America in her twenties from Guatemala tied to the underside of a bus. She would only work a few days a week, but when my parents and my aunt and uncle would go out to dinner, she would babysit us. Reflecting on this, I like to think that it wasn’t a messed-up situation, considering how much love I saw. However, I know there are situations in the U.S. and Mexico where it can be an extremely bad situation. I also want to add that even though

Something I appreciated about the movie, was seeing another side to the story as it followed Cleo rather than the family. I do wish they dove a little more into this but seeing how she interacted with her friend and Fermín was really cool. As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I overlook experiences one may experience because society often defines someone by their work. In reality, Cleo is a young woman experiencing life like all other women her age. Her life gets extremely real really fast. Becoming pregnant at a young age and the father not acknowledging the fact is devastating. Then, giving birth to a still born child, and feeling relief because for a hatred for the father of her child, hits the viewer so intensely, it hard to believe it actually happened.

There is a whole other side to the story, that doesn’t follow Cleo, but rather the mother of the kids Cleo looks after. Her husband, who is adored by the kids, is cheating on her. Part of her is in denial and the other wants to protect her kids. The combination of this situation combined with Cleo’s journey reveals the depth of the human struggle. Social status may define the struggle one experiences, but life is relative, and it doesn’t mean one is easier to overcome than the other.

Reflection on Wildlights

For my International Affairs Scholars service requirement, I attended the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo. As I’m from Toledo, I have gone to the Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo with my friends for several years now. That was why I was ecstatic to go on this trip with my fellow scholars. What made this event a service project was that we were able to get in by bringing five canned goods. Going in, I wasn’t sure whether or not we would be volunteering in some way at the Zoo, or simply enjoying the lights. It turns out we were just there to enjoy the lights, which was really fun, however I wish there was more of a service component. I planned on doing the mural as well, but I had something that day and didn’t make it.

Exploring the zoo was extremely fun. We saw all sorts of animals. Our first stop was the polar bears. I left the zoo a tad disappointed, because all we saw at the exhibit was these statues in the darkness. Upon writing this post, I realized that these statues were actually the polar bears when somebody pointed it out to me. Funny how life works. A similar experience happened when we passed by the bison. We thought they were rocks. The elephant exhibit was very interesting. I learned from a zookeeper that one of the elephant’s tusks were lower than the other tusk because he rests his trunk on that tusk. Also, there was another female who we didn’t get a chance to see because she was pregnant. However, my favorite exhibit of all was the Australian exhibit because I got to see the wombats.

I feel as though the lights turned out to be more of a social event. I was able to connect more to other International Affairs Scholars people. Living on the third floor of Smith-Steeb Hall, I haven’t had the chance to connect with many other IA people, who mainly live on the eighth floor. The friends that I do have in IA, I met in shared classes. After exploring the lights at the zoo, we headed to Olive Garden instead of taking the bus home. I had never actually been to Olive Garden, so it truly was an experience.

I will say, that though I had a fantastic time with my fellow IA Scholars, visiting the zoo wasn’t as fun for me as when I was little. Through out the night, in the back of my mind was the fact that all these animals were in captivity. I understand that zoos nowadays are used more for educational purposes and research, rather than simply entertainment, but it still was a problem for me. Tying this adventure into international affairs, I got the chance to stay with a host family in China the summer before my junior year of high school. While I was there, I visited an aquarium. There wasn’t enough space for any of the animals and it was really disheartening. I also got to visit a market place where they sold animals. The most adorable puppies were shoved into tiny crates that only had metal barring for bottoms. It was interesting to see how animal’s rights are perceived differently among nations. I am in no way saying that these problems don’t exist in the U.S. Animal abuse exists worldwide, and though it is not a major concern among the great politicians of the world, it definitely is an international issue.

Reflection on: Terrorism and the Middle East: The Threat and Solutions

I walked into Jennings Hall for the American Enterprise Institute Event, knowing very little of what it was about. Due to this, I was unsure of what I would learn from this event and how it would pertain to international affairs. When the topic was announced, I was intrigued to hear Dr. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute and Dr. Edward Crenshaw of The Ohio State University’s thoughts on terrorism and the Middle East. Honestly, during the conversation I felt overwhelmed. They each had sides to the conflict that I hadn’t heard before, and I found myself trying to comprehend exactly what they were saying. Both had extensive knowledge of the Middle East and Islam. I was able to take in much of what was being said as the two debated, but I wish I knew more on the issue.

The primary point I feel was made by both men, was that the terrorism from the Middle East is not the result of poverty and lack of education, but rather based in ideology. They stated that this issue was similar to the Cold War, a war of ideologies. For this reason, they both insisted that this type of terrorism should be called Radical Islam.

Dr. Michael Rubin knew verses from the Quran. I believe that understanding the mentality of those an issue concerns is incredibly important when finding a solution to the problem. Other points made, I found, not ignorant because they were both well educated on the matter, but pessimistic towards humanity. For example, one solution brought up was that the best way to solve conflict in the Middle East rooted in cultural differences, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “blood”. In other words letting them fight it out. This tactic was claimed by Dr. Edward Crenshaw, an idea that which Dr. Michael Rubin agreed. I feel this overlooks so much of the situation, and is an answer lacking creativity. It also ignores the fact that Palestine is not recognized by the rest of the world in the same way as Israel. Due to access to resources, it seems clear who would win. Regardless of that, many innocent lives would be lost. It would be no better than what is going on today.  The second generation idea was brought up, meaning that the most violent individuals are typically the children of immigrants because they have their feet in two cultures, and don’t exactly fit in. This was extremely hard for me to wrap my head around. It was an argument that could potentially fuel anti-immigrant debate, rather than inspire people to look to better ways for immigrants to be included in society.

I left slightly early, during the Q and As because I had class. While walking to class I called one of my high school friends, whose parents are from Pakistan (going back to the idea of second generation) and she is also a practicing Muslim. I wanted to hear the thoughts of someone who knows much more on the issue, and has experienced discrimination due to heritage. Specifically concerning the idea that terrorism steaming from the Middle East being called Radical Islam, she felt the ideas being laid down by Dr. Rubin and Dr. Crenshaw ignored the effect the title had on the Muslim community as a whole. I plan on talking to her more about the issue, but our conversation was cut short because I reach my classroom.

I won’t say that there wasn’t anything that I agreed with, but overall I did have problems with what was said. One thing I did find helpful was some advice from Dr. Rubin. Though I’m unsure whether or not I will go into International Relations, Dr. Michael Rubin shared that if an individual is looking to go into a career under the international umbrella, they predict where future conflicts will occur and then specialize in those places (he mentioned Algeria and Mauritania) so they are one step ahead of everyone else. All in all, I found the debate extremely interesting as I was able to see other sides of the debate.

Venezuelan Economic Crisis

       On Sunday, August 26th, I attended a current events conversation with Sam Stelnick, the academic chair of IA, and other IA members. The topic of discussion was the Venezuelan economic crisis. There was much to learn and it was interesting to discuss a topic on which I knew very little. There were some students involved in the discussion that knew a lot about the Venezuelan economic crisis, but the majority had little knowledge on the issue. This dynamic made for a very interesting conversation among peers. I knew that there were issues in Venezuela, however, until this meeting, I didn’t realize how deep there were embedded in the country. To show what this discussion taught me, the following is what I knew before. I knew that a major part of Venezuela economy was based on their oil. I also knew that the U.S. has a long and complicated history with Venezuela. Recognizing the importance of U.S. relations with Venezuela, but feeling that I knew little on the subject is what inspired me to attend the talk.

       When the discussion began, one thing that stuck out to me was the extent of the collapse of the Venezuelan economy. With a large amount of the world’s oil, it seems like it would be a country of great wealth, but clearly that is not the case. One factor is that inflation has become a huge problem. Facing major debts, the Venezuelan government made the decision to print more money, however as history has taught us, that leads to more chaos. The wealthy then started investing in the U.S. which further widened the wealth gap in Venezuela. When a situation happens like this in an economy, the poor are forced to start bartering. The creation of a black market becomes inevitable.

       On a brief side note, In highschool, I was taught that when Germany faced inflation following WWI, the economic balance of the nation was completely off center. I can’t help but to make the comparison between Germany in the early 1920s, and Venezuela today.

       Anyways, another thing that I learned was how many factors of the economy have been nationalized by the Venezuelan government. What I found out was that this creates an inexperienced staff, and so these industries become less proficient.

       One thing that the government has done to try and solve the problem, specifically under President Maldura, is raise the minimum wage. At the same time, raised the price of fuel for individuals that don’t have the fatherland card. However, those seemingly on the right track, this will have little to no impact on Venezuela’s current state. It is argued that pegging Venezuelan currency to the U.S. dollar would help to stabilize the economy. Though a solution with evidence for it, it is unlikely to occur as the U.S. is blamed for starting an economic war with Venezuela.

       In conclusion, I found this discussion on the Venezuelan economic crisis to be extremely educational. I find myself even now looking for other solutions to the problem and how practical they would be if applied. I also find myself more engaged with world economics, as I have come to recognized its importance.


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 eportfolio@osu.edu. 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 eportfolio@osu.edu. 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.]