Summary of Mentorship Experience (Leadership Development)

This year in the ACES Program, I had the pleasure of mentoring two freshman scholars throughout their first year at Ohio State: Abby McNickle and Yaretzi Leos. Abby is an out-of-state student from Connecticut, currently studying English Education. Yaretzi, on the other hand, is from the local Columbus area in Hilliard, studying Early Childhood Education. Despite our year getting cut short, I developed strong ties to both of my mentees and learned tremendously about their experiences at Ohio State.
Over the course of this year, I have connected with both Yaretzi and Abby in numerous, distinct ways. Although Abby and I are from different states, I also have family that lives in Connecticut. We both also aspire to teach in a high school environment. Yaretzi and I both are able to speak Spanish; while I learned Spanish in school, Yaretzi is of Mexican descent and speaks the language with her family. All three of us are studying to become educators as well.
Nevertheless, despite sharing countless similarities, we also shared our differences as well. Specifically, while Abby and I both are from out of town and live on campus, Yaretzi commutes to campus and lives at home in Hilliard. Beyond that, despite both living on campus, Abby is from out of state, while I am from the Cincinnati area. These differences between myself and my mentees have exposed me to two distinct perspectives on the college experience. I have learned the pros and cons, along with the values and principles, that derive from not only a local, commuting student, but also a far-away-from-home student. In effect, I have come to realize how diverse the OSU student population is, along with recognizing that each and every college student has a unique, individualized college experience.
Looking over the course of this year, I saw both Abby and Yaretzi grow immensely between first and second semester. I saw both of them get more involved on campus in student organizations and clubs. I saw both of them connect with fellow ACE Scholars throughout the year, finding a home within this community. I also saw them both grow in their passions for education, primarily through their experiences with FEEP. I hope to continue to see them get involved, connected, and successful in both their academics, extracurriculars, and social lives.
For me, the ACES Mentorship Program has also served a great purpose. It has helped me grow as a leader and as a role model for those around me. I developed two authentic and strong friendships with my mentees this year, and I am so glad I got to know both of them so well throughout the year. From this year, I learned that the most important part of being a mentor is genuine care and support. By showing my mentees that I truly cared for them, I felt that I connected with both of them on a personal level. Every time we were able to get together to catch up, it was always a great time, and I’m extremely thankful for that. I hope to take the skills of being a role model from this opportunity and apply it to my future as a role model and leader in new contexts.
Throughout this year, I felt that I helped my mentees in a variety of ways. I was always available to answer their questions and concerns in regards to ACES, education, Ohio State’s campus, and so much more. I provided them my own insight and takeaways from my own freshman experiences to connect with their ongoing situations. I also provided opportunities for future involvement on campus by telling them about what I was involved in, along with telling them about other organizations I knew of from others. I still hope to serve as a source of support for Abby and Yaretzi, whether it be a social question or an academic matter.
Reflecting on this program, there are a plethora of benefits to being involved. One of those benefits is the ability to connect with first-years as they get adjusted and welcomed into the campus dynamic. I saw it as an extreme privilege to watch Abby and Yaretzi grow over the course of this year, along with providing insight and support to help them continue growing as students and as Buckeyes. I also was able to make two great new friends out of this experience. I hope to keep these fresh, newfound friendships strong throughout the rest of my college career and beyond. I am so grateful to have been a part of this program, and I hope Abby and Yaretzi both found the same level of joy and fun that I did throughout this year! Thank you for this opportunity!

Disclaimer: due to COVID-19, I do not have any new pictures with either of my mentees from this semester. Pictures I have from last semester can be seen from past posts!

ACES Mentorship Program: Second Semester Interview with Abby

Throughout my quarantine experience, I also got to catch up with my other first-year ACES mentee, Abby McNickle. Abby is an out-of-state student, originally from Connecticut, and is currently studying English Education. While catching up, we talked about numerous things, ranging from quarantine habits to future professional aspirations.

ACADEMICS: Are you enjoying your major? Why or why not?

Just finishing her freshman year of college, Abby plans to continue studying English Education throughout the rest of her college career. Although her year was cut short, Abby enjoyed all of her education courses throughout her first year. Next year, she plans to continue taking pre-major courses for English Education, and hopes to get accepted into her major next spring semester. Specifically, Abby enjoyed her time in the FEEP program, along with her adolescent literature course. I hope Abby continues to enjoy her experience with her field placements and educations courses, it was so great to hear about it!\

INVOLVEMENT: How have you gotten involved on campus?

Last semester, Abby got involved in several different organizations across campus. Not only is she involved with the ACES program, but she is also involved with the organization 1Girl, a group that aspires to inspire young girls leadership tactics to encourage them to be strong, confident leaders. Abby is also involved in teaching international students English, and is also a part of a theatre group on campus. Abby also had a job on campus as an OA for the summer during orientations; however, due to COVID-19 issues, Abby will not be able to have this job any longer. Instead, she will spend her summer at home in Connecticut, working at Home Depot. All in all, she hopes to come back to campus in the fall and stay involved in her student organizations.

ACES: Have you enjoyed the ACES living-learning community in Smith-Steeb? Why or why not?

Throughout her freshman year, Abby greatly enjoyed her time spent in Smith-Steeb with her fellow ACE Scholars. In fact, Abby plans to live with a few of her friends that she made from the scholars program next year. She got along very well with her direct roommate, and they have become immensely close friends over this past year. Beyond her roommate, Abby has made a strong, close-knit friend group within the ACES program, and that is all due to being surrounded by fellow ACES throughout her entire freshman year.

CAREERS: Have you had the chance to explore your desired career through internships, field experience, etc.?

This past semester, Abby was enrolled in the First Education Experience Program— better known as FEEP. Although it was a bit challenging at first, Abby was able to enjoy her time in the classroom. Unfortunately, her time this year in FEEP was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. She wishes that she was able to help out with virtual lesson plans and assignments, but the program went in a different direction. Nevertheless, she plans to take EDUTL 2189 in the Autumn semester, which is the second placement course for education majors. I hope that we can return in the fall so Abby can enjoy a full semester experience in a field placement.

MISCELLANEOUS: What kind of goals have you set for yourself for this semester?

This past semester, Abby had goals of enjoying her education courses, especially FEEP. Despite having an abrupt ending to the year, Abby was still able to make the most of this semester and finish strongly academically. For next year, Abby has goals to get accepted into her major— English Education— and continue staying involved on campus. She also hopes to stay connected and close with her new friends throughout quarantine and summer break.

It was great to catch up with Abby. I was happy to hear she was enjoying time with her family during quarantine, while also staying productive. I hope that we can be reunited in the fall on campus, as I would love to continue serving as a source of advice and support for education, ACES, and college overall!

ACES Mentorship Program: Second Semester Interview with Yaretzi

Despite all of the craziness going on due to COVID-19, I was still able to chat with one of my first-year ACES mentees, Yaretzi Leos, over the phone about her Spring semester. Yaretzi is originally from Hilliard, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, and is currently studying Early Childhood Education. Throughout our talk, we discussed numerous topics, and it was great to hear how she was doing!

ACADEMICS: Are you enjoying your major? Why or why not?

Yaretzi has been studying Early Childhood Education throughout her entire first year at Ohio State. This past semester, she was a part of the First Education Experience Program— better known as FEEP. With FEEP, Yaretzi was able to shadow in a kindergarten classroom throughout the Spring semester, assisting with lessons and classroom management. Although this experience was cut short, Yaretzi told me the experience was an incredible experience, fueling her passion for education and her studies immensely. Because of her experience with FEEP, Yaretzi plans to continue studying Early Childhood Education, aspiring to be an elementary school teacher.

INVOLVEMENT: How do you manage your time between your involvement and your academics?

Being a commuter student, Yaretzi does not spend as much time on campus compared to other students. She prefers to keep her time on campus focused towards her academics, and with most club meetings occurring later in the evening, it is challenging for her to find the time and places to stay on campus for long durations. Nonetheless, Yaretzi is still involved in the ACES community, attending monthly meetings and programs. In the future, Yaretzi aspires to find more opportunities to get involved and connected on campus.

ACES: Have you enjoyed the ACES living-learning community in Smith-Steeb? Why or why not?

Similar to the response above, Yaretzi is a commuter student that lives close to campus. Therefore, she did not live with fellow ACES in Smith-Steeb this past year. As a result, Yaretzi had a different experience compared to others, as she did not live around her fellow ACE Scholars throughout the entire year. Instead, she mostly saw them at monthly meetings and events put on by the group. Hopefully, in this upcoming year, Yaretzi will be able to create more memories and connections within her ACES community.

CAREERS: Have your career plans changed since your first semester?

Yaretzi’s career plans have not changed one bit— in fact, they’ve only grown bigger and stronger. After her experience with FEEP this past semester, Yaretzi’s aspirations to be an elementary school teacher have skyrocketed. She now knows for certainty that this is her dream profession, and she plans to work even harder this upcoming year to be successful in her major.

MISCELLANEOUS: What kind of goals have you set for yourself for this semester?

One of Yaretzi’s biggest goals throughout her college career thus far has been to get into her major: Early Childhood Education. Being the most competitive Education major, Yaretzi knows that she has to work hard to be as successful as possible in her academic courses. After her experience with FEEP, Yaretzi’s motivation to get into her major has surged. Having a real classroom experience under her belt, she has realized that Early Childhood is where she is meant to be, and now, she plans to work nonstop until she gets accepted into her dream program.

With this interview, it was great to catch up with Yaretzi and hear her passion for her studies. I hope to be a source of support for her as she continues her studies in her second year at Ohio State. I also hope that she continues to enjoy her time and courses at school as much as she did this past semester!

Explore Columbus Part 2- ACES Mentorship Program

This past Friday, I met up with my other mentee, Yaretzi, for our explore Columbus assignment. We decided to meet up at one of High Street’s most iconic food shops, Buckeye Donuts. During our first Semester Interview together, Yaretzi told me that she had never been to Buckeye Donuts in her college career. Therefore, with it being one of the most popular places around campus, I felt that it was vital that Yaretzi experienced Buckeye Donuts for herself!

We met up at Buckeye Donuts after Yaretzi’s last class on Friday. Once we both got there, we got in line and pondered what we should order. Not only do they have an enormous variety of donuts to offer, but they also have countless food items that are beyond delicious; from mozzarella sticks to phenomenal gyros, it took us awhile to figure out what we wanted to eat! Ultimately, we both decided to order some donuts, as those are truly what makes Buckeye Donuts as fantastic as they are!

After getting our donuts, I immediately wanted to know Yaretzi’s thoughts. I was so relieved to hear she was a fan of the iconic breakfast food! It’s always been one of my favorite parts of Ohio State, so hearing a positive response was great!

While sitting down, we caught up on each other’s semesters since we last talked during the first Semester Interview. We both emphasized how excited we are for the upcoming breaks for Thanksgiving and the holidays! Although we both agreed it has been a very swift, productive semester, these breaks have come at a very great time for us to relax, recompose ourselves, and get ready for finals and the upcoming Spring Semester. We both have some pretty big finals to prepare for, so having Thanksgiving break at this time will be extremely beneficial for the both of us to decompress and start preparing ourselves to do as best as we can on all of our final exams.

While talking about upcoming holiday breaks, Yaretzi told me about her usual holiday festivities and traditions. She usually spends a lot of time with her family, and her mom cooks a variety of dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. The food that Yaretzi told me she gets to have on Thanksgiving sounded so incredible, I wish I got to have the same kind of meal as her! We then talked about our excitement for Christmas season coming up. Yaretzi told me about her upcoming holiday plans and duties to fulfill; she’s still pondering on what to get her parents for the holiday, but in her family, being together and celebrating traditions is the most important aspect to the holiday for them!

After talking and finishing our donuts, we walked back to South Campus and parted ways. It was great to see Yaretzi and take her to experience such an important tradition to Ohio State’s culture and dynamic. Of course, I would totally recommend Buckeye Donuts to anyone; it’s impossible to go throughout your undergraduate college career without experiencing Buckeye Donuts at least one time. Even if one isn’t a donut fan, there are still so many other options for food. Also, it is opened 24 hours a day, so there is no time that you cannot go and enjoy the amazing, delicious Buckeye food.

This experience opened doors to fun, quick, and easy sources of entertainment close to campus for Yaretzi to explore in the future while she’s around campus. Being a commuter student, these are some of the most important times in Yaretzi’s college career to make fun, meaningful memories; opportunities like these allow Yaretzi to hang out with her new friends from school and explore new areas of town that she has not seen before. Not living on campus, it’s vital for Yaretzi to take advantage of finding new restaurants, shops, parks, and various other places around Columbus that she enjoys; therefore, she can feel more connected with her college and city environment.

These explore Columbus opportunities, no matter how big or small, are so crucial for every college student to experience. These outings get students out and about in their unfamiliar settings, and allow them to get more and more comfortable in their unknown surroundings. By feeling more comfortable, college becomes much more of a fun, engaging, and memorable experience, leading to growth as a student and individual. I hope that after this experience, Yaretzi continues to explore new sectors of Columbus, despite it being her hometown. That way, she can grow in her awareness and knowledge of her surroundings as an OSU student and enjoy the infinite chances of fun and entertainment that surround her everyday.

Explore Columbus Part 1- ACES Mentorship Program

Last weekend, Abby and I decided to get together and try a popular restaurant in Columbus, Fox in the Snow Cafe. This cafe is notorious for its outstanding brunch, and having both heard about it so frequently, we both knew it was the perfect place to go for our Explore Columbus assignment!

We met up last Saturday morning in Smith-Steeb and decided to utilize the infamous COTA to get there. We both agreed that having free access to the COTA is something we couldn’t pass up, so taking it was our best and cheapest option. After a smooth ride, we walked through the Short North and various parts of downtown until we found Fox in the Snow. Being late morning on a Saturday, it came to no surprise that the restaurant was packed; nevertheless, we were able to move through the line very quickly and received great service! It was so challenging for both of us to figure out what we wanted to order, as everything we saw looked incredibly delicious— a good problem to have I guess!

After a long deliberation, we both decided to order something from the cafe’s bakery. I ordered their cinnamon roll with an iced coffee, while Abby ordered a similar pastry with a spiced cider. After getting our food and drinks, we managed to find a seat to enjoy our food and catch up.

After taking one bite of our food, we both agreed that Fox in the Snow definitely lived up to its hype. Despite loving the food we chose, we both agreed that there were so many other options that we were dying to try, so we’ll definitely have to pay Fox in the Snow another visit soon! While we ate such amazing breakfast, we brought each other up to speed on our lives and how we’d been doing. We both are having really great, fun semesters, full of great friendships, memories, and opportunities. Nevertheless, we are both incredibly excited for Thanksgiving break— we both need some time away from school for a little bit! Abby also told me she’s incredibly excited for Winter Break as it will be her first time being home all semester. Being all the way from Connecticut, the hardest part for Abby this year has been not seeing her family and hometown friends. Despite that, she told me how grateful she is that she decided to come to Ohio State, as she feels that she would not have come out of her shell or tried new things if she had gone to a school closer to home. I told her that I had felt the same way, as I nearly went to a school much closer to home but ultimately decided that OSU was the better option for me to expand my horizons and grow as a person; I am so happy I made that choice for myself, and I hope Abby feels the exact same way!

After a great conversation, we decided to head out as there were a lot of people that were looking for seats. We both would highly recommend for anyone to check out Fox in the Snow Cafe, as it not only has the best breakfast food that we have ever had, but it also has great employees and such a calm, relaxing environment. My one recommendation would be to go either a little earlier or later than we went, as we got there in the midst of their busiest time. Despite being lucky in finding seats fairly quickly, it is a small space and doesn’t have enough seating for all its customers, so I’d go at a later or earlier time to beat the crowd! Besides that, the food is outstanding, so if you ever have the chance to go, GO!

This experience and assignment were both highly rewarding. This was an experience that Abby and I both had never had before, and being someone who loves trying new things and exploring my surroundings, it was awesome to find a new fun place to explore. It’s experiences like these that are so vital for all students at Ohio State to take advantage of; by living in one of the largest and most up-and-coming cities in the country, it’s vital to venture into the intriguing unknown and discover what’s going on around your new home. In Columbus, there’s never not something incredible happening, and finding these wondrous opportunities and places make this “home away from home” much more comfortable, fun, and remarkable.

First Semester Interview- ACES Mentorship Program

Today I was able to interview my other mentee from the ACES mentorship program, Yaretzi Leos. Yaretzi is a first-year OSU student, currently studying Early Childhood Education. It was a great experience to catch up with Yaretzi and see how her semester has been going!

ACADEMICS: How do you like to study? Have you found a good place for studying on campus?

Yaretzi is a commuter student from the Hilliard area in Columbus. Therefore, she enjoys to get her work done and study at home. She told me that at times it can be distracting trying to get work done on campus, so it’s easier for her to work in the comfort of her own home with her family. She also said it is hard for her to focus when it’s too quiet. Therefore, she enjoys having background noise to help her focus like a TV show or a movie. Overall, Yaretzi has enjoyed her studies so far this semester, and hopes to finish strongly as finals are coming quickly.

INVOLVEMENT: What kind of involvement are you interested in on campus?

So far, Yaretzi gotten involved with the ACES Scholars program, and is also a member of the Morrill Scholars program. With these current commitments, she has monthly meetings and social events that allow her to get to know more students in these organizations. However, she also wishes to also get involved with the Latino Student Assocation (LSA) on campus, but with her current academic schedule, it is challenging to find the time for her to come to the weekly meetings. She told me she’s hoping to find the time next semester to attend the meetings on campus as she is about to schedule for her next academic semester.

ACES: What are you most looking forward to in the ACES program?

Being a commuter student, it’s been a little challenging for Yaretzi to connect with her ACES community. While she’s living at home in Hilliard, her scholars community all lives together in Smith-Steeb Hall on campus. Therefore, she only gets to see her fellow ACES at their weekly seminar class, monthly meetings, and occasional events put on by the program. She is hoping to connect more with fellow ACES as we finish out this semester and continue into next year by getting more involved within the Scholars program.

CAREERS: What do you plan to do with your major after graduation?

Being a Early Childhood Education major, Yaretzi aspires to immediately get into the field and begin teaching after she graduates. She’d like to spend her time with 3rd grade students, and would also like to expand her license to be able to teach 4th and 5th grade students as well. Yaretzi is also hoping to teach in a school environment full of diversity, like Southwestern or Columbus City Schools. Originally from Southwestern, Yaretzi loved her school system and the cultural dynamic that filled the school, and she would love to go back to Southwestern and continue nourishing the diverse community. Yaretzi also told me that she’s never had a Hispanic teacher, and doesn’t know too many people that have had one either. Therefore, she’s hoping to change that by getting into the field and promoting diversity.

MISC: What is one of the most important things you’ve learned so far at Ohio State?

For Yaretzi, there have been a lot of eye-opening moments throughout her first semester. She told me that time has been going by so fast, and it’s crazy to think her first semester of college is already almost over. In result of that, she’s hoping to enjoy her time on campus while she can and appreciate every moment. Yaretzi also has found that campus truly isn’t as big as she thought it was going to be. She has been able to find her way around all of campus with ease, automatically knowing where every building is on campus and how to get there. She has also found that she often sees a lot of people she knows on campus, making OSU feel more welcoming and inclusive for her. Finally, Yaretzi told me she’s felt very relieved as a commuter student, initially worried that it would be hard to make connections with others due to living at home rather than campus. She’s learned that there is a huge community of commuters at Ohio State and has made a lot of new friends, along with keeping strong connections with friends from home that also chose to attend OSU, which has been incredibly relieving for her.

It was great to catch up with Yaretzi and hear about her semester, and I hope she continues to get involved and make more connections within the ACES community and OSU overall!

First Semester Interview- ACES Mentorship Program

Tonight I was able to interview one of my two mentees, Abby McNickle. Abby is a first year at The Ohio State University, currently studying English Education. We met up for dinner on campus to catch up and talk about our semesters so far!

ACADEMICS: How do you like to study? Have you found a good place for studying on campus?

Abby told me that she likes a variety of study spots on campus to maximize her productivity. In the beginning of the year, she enjoyed studying outside at the Browning Amphitheater near Mirror Lake. Now, she enjoys doing homework and studying in Thompson Library, specifically in the large reading rooms at the front and back of the second floor. All of these areas have great views of campus’ natural beauty, along with being a place of tranquility, allowing Abby to focus strongly on her studies! I also love these study spots myself, so hopefully sometime soon we can study together!

INVOLVEMENT: What kind of involvement are you interested in on campus?

Abby has already gotten very involved in a variety of campus groups and activities. Not only is she an ACE Scholar, but she also is an active member of 1Girl, helping international students learn English, and a theatre group on campus. 1Girl is an organization that teaches young girls (around 4th/5th grade) key leadership skills and motivates future generations of women to feel empowered and capable to be anything they want to be in society. Abby told me she deeply enjoys what she has gotten involved in so far, and is hoping to not only continue getting involved on campus, but to also dive deeper and invest more time into the clubs she’s already joined.

ACES: What are you most looking forward to in the ACES program?

With the end of the semester coming fast, Abby told me her favorite part of ACES so far this year has been the community she has made with her fellow scholars. She has connected with lots of people on her floor, has gotten really close with her roommate, and enjoys the presence of everyone in her ACES class. She also told me she is visiting several of her friends’ hometowns and families over Thanksgiving Break, along with already talking about living together with a group of her new friends next year. Coming all the way from Connecticut to attend OSU, it’s awesome to see Abby make such a close, welcoming community with her fellow ACE Scholars- she’s truly making campus her second home!

CAREERS: What do you plan to do with your major after graduation?

After graduating from Ohio State, Abby said she’d love to go into the Peace Corps for a few years, with a hope to teach English as a second langauge to those in a foreign country. This was so awesome to hear, as I am also interested in living abroad after graduation and teaching overseas! After working in the Peace Corps, Abby said she’d love to teach in a high school, preferably with Juniors and Seniors, along with running a drama program at her school. It was so cool hearing her passion for teaching English overseas, as that is something I have been extremely interested in pursuing for as long as I can remember!

MISC: What is one of the most important things you’ve learned so far at Ohio State?

Looking back on her first semester so far, Abby told me she’s learned so much from this semester. Simple things like not doing your laundry on a Sunday and avoiding the traditional dining halls are easy takeaways. However, she’s also learned a lot behind the key to success in college. For example, she’s learned a lot about the importance of time management and balance. In order to ensure success academically, it’s crucial to stay organized and keep track of assignments. When handled with care, school can become much easier to balance with extracurriculars and a social life. Another crucial thing Abby has learned is that involvement is so helpful in ensuring a fun, engaging, memorable college experience. The more one gets involved, the more friends and memories they make, and the more opportunities and joy they find. Seeing how involved Abby has already gotten this semester, it’s incredible to see the impact she’s making on her college community and on her own college experience.

It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Abby, and I am so excited to see how far she goes here at OSU!

My Leadership Development

I am an athlete, although not in a common sport. I have been a competitive jump roper for the past 9 years of my life. This sport has provided me with everything: a family, a passion, travel, exercise, and most importantly leadership. As I’ve grown up with the sport, I have been blessed with countless leadership opportunities. From running weekly practices and workouts, to representing my jump rope team on local broadcasts and interviews, to traveling across the world to teach the sport to children and jumpers of foreign cultures, I have learned how to lead and inspire others in this unique sport.

One of my most prized memories from jump rope was this past summer; I was invited to travel to Germany and the Czech Republic to teach in two jump rope camps. While in Germany, I was a level leader, meaning I was in charge of a large group of jumpers (90 to be exact) that had similar levels of skill in the sport and could all benefit from learning similar tricks and routines. Being a level leader, I was in charge of leading not only the mass group of children, but also the fellow staff members that taught the kids. This job required frequent meetings with my staff and constant planning in how to divvy up the jumpers. I also worked with German-speaking staff members in translating my messages to the children whose English skills were just as strong as my German. This experience, although intimidating at first, was extremely helpful in my confidence in leading others. Despite extreme language and cultural barriers, I was able to lead all of my staff and campers to my greatest ability, providing a fun learning environment with lots of jumping.

While at the international camp in Prague, Czech Republic, my role changed significantly. Instead of being a level leader, I was head staff, which put me in charge of the entire camp with participants ranging from Russia to Czech Republic to Germany to Finland to Hungary. With many cultures and languages coming together under one gym roof, I felt my nerves fill my body as the camp started. However, I channeled my anxiety, put on a smile, and led the 4 day camp with the confidence and leadership skills I grasped in Germany. As the camp continued, my leadership abilities soared, filling me with excitement and passion to lead my fellow staffers and campers to their greatest abilities.

Both of these experiences have been extremely beneficial in helping me find a sense of assurance in myself as I’ve entered college. I now am eager to lead others in Student Orgs like I led overseas. I am excited to find more passions like jump rope to channel my excitement into as I transition into adulthood and a professional life. My opportunites overseas have also increased my passion in wanting to become a Foreign Language Educator, as I am eager to learn as many languages as I can in my life, along with educating myself on all the cultures across the globe. Because of jump rope, and the amazing experiences that are apart of it, I have grown as an athlete, as a student, as a leader, as a human, and I am so deeply grateful for it.

ACES Pillars Film Project- An Artifact

As an ACE Scholar, I am currently taking a 1-credit hour seminar course that educates me and fellow ACES on the group’s values and mission as an organization. An important project we completed in this course was the ACES Pillars Film Project, where groups of 3-4 students were tasked to watch a movie/documentary and connect the ACES pillars- Positive Social Change, Advocacy, Community, and Service- to the context of the film. Students were also asked to provide a summary of the film, provide critiques, a target audience and a call to action from the flim, and explain how they connected to the film and how it connects to present day.

My groupmates and I decided to watch the documentary, American Promise, a documentary that follows two African American boys through their academic and personal life journeys over a 14 year period. The two main characters, Idris and Seun, both attend a prestigious, predominantly white private school as children, and the film documents how both boys feel throughout their education experience from the age of 5 until the boys venture into college. This documentary- although started almost 20 years ago-  is still extremely powerful and relevant in today’s society. Both Idris and Seun face extreme prejudice in their school, Dalton School in Brooklyn, New York, as both boys are extreme minorities in a sea of white children. In result, both children are treated differenlty by teachers, fellow students, and faculty due to their race in multiple ways, ultimately leading to one of the boys, Seun, to transfer schools as he enters high school.

While debriefing on the movie and assembling our presentation, my groupmates and I all agreed that this film exposed us to struggles and hardships African Americans in our nation have faced and still face. We noticed a lack of positive social change in this film, and were able to connect that to current day issues with movements like the Black Lives Matter movement, fighting against prejudice in the U.S. and equality for all, despite race, ethnicity, gender, etc. We also noticed a strong sense of advocacy from the families of the children as they fought for their kids’ rights in the education realm and the real world, which also connects to current movements in the U.S. that are fighting these persistent inequality epidemics.

This project inspired us to encourage our fellow ACES to watch this movie and spread its message of looking past race and discrimination. We felt it was an excellent film for future educators and American society to watch as it exposes us to the common misconceptions many of us make against not only African Americans, but all other minorities as well, intentional or not. This film taught me the importance of respect for all people and to create a welcoming sense of community for all children in the classroom and people in everyday life. I will take these lessons from this movie and utilize them as I become an educator in order to ensure that all of my students- regardless of their differences- feel equal.