A Year in Review: 2016-2017

I have encountered many changes in my personal and academic life throughout my time at Ohio State and with the International Affairs Scholars program. Though I came into Ohio State with an International Studies major and have never changed it, I have faced changes in course in terms of career options and immediate future after college. In my personal life, I was forced to become much more self-reliant in terms of emotion and future plans at the beginning of this year, and because of these changes, I have become more confident in my decisions and more willing to trust myself than I was prior to this growth. In terms of career, I have waffled between options that are available to me because of my wide-scope degree. However, I recently decided that I want to volunteer for the Peace Corps, and because of that, I declared a minor of Environmental Science. Because of my internship with a political campaign last semester, I have decided that once I return from the Peace Corps, I would like to manage a campaign before jumping into a career. After receiving the higher education required for my desired career path, ideally I would like to work for the State Department. All of these decisions were made because of the growth and identity seeking I was able to complete throughout my years in the IA Scholars program. Through the program, I was introduced to my best friends, who supported my decision making and facilitated my personal growth. IA provides an academic community of likeminded people seeking to learn from each other and from the world in order to become more educated citizens of the world. International Affairs Scholars has been a valuable addition to my growth academically and personally, and has influenced the decisions that I have made that will affect my future in many years.

Presenting my Second-Year Project at the Symposium

Towards the end of my Spring 2017 semester at OSU, my International Affairs Scholars program offered me the opportunity to present this poster at a symposium that included all other second year IA Scholars, and first years as well as faculty and scholars coordinators were invited. I was able to talk to many people about an internship that I loved so much, and inspire some first years who were unable to think of a project that they would enjoy doing. I was also able to talk to some faculty that were researching campaign and voter trends, and were very interested in my experience as a volunteer. The symposium gave me a way to make a tangible representation of my time as a campaign intern, and talking about it all night made me realize how much I did enjoy the experience. While at the symposium, my campaign manager texted me and offered me a position for over the summer, which I rapidly snatched up. The campaign and the symposium helped me to create relationships that will be useful for networking in the future.

Competitive Cryptanalysis

Earlier this semester, I participated in an event called Competitive Cryptanalysis through one of my classes, Code and Codebreaking. During the event, there were several teams competing to find the objects designated in the messages. We needed to cryptanalyze the given messages and determine the location of the objects, then retrieve them without getting shot by the other teams (with nerf guns). The main purpose of this event was to put to use the different techniques we (the students) learned in the Code and Codebreaking class in order to break the encryption on a message in a specified amount of time. This gave us the “real-world” stress of time constrained cipher breaking (but with nerf gun weapons and zipties as the objects), as we had only done untimed homework assignments in the past. Overall, the experience was a good bonding exercise with my team, and a great way to practice a series of skills that we had learned over the course of the semester.

Jump Rope Club

During the Autumn Semester of 2016, I joined the Ohio State Jump Rope Club. This club was the first university-sanctioned jump rope club in the United States, and is therefore responsible for setting an example to the other budding clubs across the country. Through participating in this club, I have met world-class jump ropers, as well as gained experience planning a national event in which multiple colleges and clubs across the country are participating. This has helped develop my interpersonal and leadership skills, and opened my eyes to another world to which I was completely oblivious. It has encouraged me to suggest individual functions and team building activities, and has been a very rewarding experience. The club is unique in that its members are from every grade level and multiple majors, making the connections that I am able to make more diverse than they would be in a club that is directed towards my major. Overall, the experience has been a positive one and I plan on continuing and expanding my participation in the upcoming semester.

Lee Schreiner’s Campaign

This semester (Autumn of 2016), I had the privilege of working on a political campaign as a volunteer/intern. This experience was extremely rewarding, as I worked with my candidate and campaign manager, as well as other interns, to work towards electing Lee Schreiner to the House of Representatives in Columbus. Working with this campaign has deepened my interest in politics and government, and has shown me that I have definitely chosen the right career path. During the course of the semester, I was responsible for door-to-door campaigning, phone banking, and research. I was able to observe the process of ordering literature, the bureaucracy of receiving funding from the Democratic Party and lobbies, and attend events with other members of the Ohio Democrats and politicians. I enjoyed this experience more than words can describe, and I will definitely miss it during the Spring semester.

Volunteering at Preschool

I would like to share is my experience volunteering with Precious Ones Learning Center. All through high school and continuing in college (while home for breaks), I volunteer(ed) at the preschool and daycare through my church. The experience has been both rewarding and educational, as I have learned a good deal about state bureaucracy, finances, lesson planning, time management, and, of course, caring for children. Over the summers, I would supervise the children at the Kettering Recreation Center pool, and during the school year and over breaks this year I have worked directly in the classrooms with students who require more help than just one teacher can provide. I work on special projects as well as menial tasks like coping and cleaning. My job for the day depends on the needs of the center. This job has taught me LOTS of patience, organization, leadership, and (most importantly in my opinion) the ability to teach (and reteach, and reteach…) something to a student who has a hard time understanding the topic. This has forced me to think about things in a different way and has expanded my ability to “put myself in someone else’s shoes,” which has greatly helped me transition to OSU and to understand the new friends I am making. This experience has also presented me with a job opportunity, as I recently turned 18 and am now able to be hired as an assistant teacher. It has rounded out my resume as well as taught me skills and formed my character, which will affect my career in positive ways.

High School Yearbook

Though this artifact originated in high school, it has led to my love for design and writing in college. It has led me to create a private blog and revamp my resume. It has given me market experience selling ads to local and national businesses and working directly with Jostens representatives, leadership experience in creating the theme for the book and organizing everyone else’s sections around that theme, and creative experience both writing and designing that led me to want to continue both designing and writing. It also taught me how to time manage, as pages were due in huge groupings and it was the editor’s responsibility to stay on track. Overall, it was a very rounding experience for my character, my patience, my creativity, and my work ethic. My co-editor-in-chief and I created the theme for the whole book, “then & now,” which can be seen on the cover and end pages:

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We were also in charge of our own sections of the book, the opening and closing:


And finally, my favorite, the pages that divided the other sections and carried the many elements of the theme throughout the book:


Every year, our director enters the book in 3 national competitions and 1 state-wide competition. Our book won:

The “second” honor rating in the National Scholastic Press Association Competition

Gold medal in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Competition

First place ranking with outstanding marks in theme, reader services, coverage, and leadership from the Ohio Scholastic Media Association

And most impressive, first place with a perfect score in creativity from the American Scholastic Press Association.

I loved every minute of working with my team, and I feel this experience and the many skills I learned will lend itself for years to come.


Intelligence Community of Europe

This year, as one of my major projects for my Introduction to Intelligence class, I chose to research the Intelligence Community of Europe and the main challenges it faces both internally and externally. First, I researched the different levels of the Intelligence Community and how information becomes intelligence that countries and law enforcement are able to use. I learned a lot about the differences between the ways Europe and the U.S. respond to issues within Europe. I also learned about how the intelligence community is affected by budget and other internal regulations imposed by government.

This project was important to my college career because it was assigned in the style of an intelligence report. According to my professor, this is a short, more general form of what intelligence analysts do and the reports they provide to people like the president. This is what I would like to do in the future, so it was eye opening to have the process taught by someone who has practiced it and then go through the motions myself. Obviously, and unfortunately, I did not have access to the information t0 which analysts have access, but I was still able to go through the motions of putting together a portfolio of information regarding the Intelligence Community in Europe. The below attachment is one part of the portfolio: the overview.

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Year in Review

During the 2015-2016 school year, my first year in college and away from home, I learned a myriad of things. Some of these things, like how to budget a meal plan, I expected to learn, but others, like recognizing the warning signs of a vomit covered toilet seat, were a surprise. Some, like how to write an intelligence brief, will come in handy, but others, like how to effectively analyze a country music video, will probably not. However, all of these things contributed to my education and experience at OSU and I am grateful for all of them. I grew as a student; I learned to more effectively budget my time my way, as I no longer had the concrete schedule of high school and home to keep me on track. I improved as a writer, as a story teller, and I learned to be a better learner. I grew as a member of society; I realized the importance of being involved in the community and what it can actually accomplish. High school organizations were nice college application boosters, but at OSU I have actually felt that I have contributed to causes such as domestic violence and mental health. I grew as a leader; I never thought that I would run for any office, but I ran for treasurer of the Board of Activities for Smith-Steeb this year, and I made a campaign speech outlining my plan for office. I lost, but that helped me realize that I do, in fact, want to be in a leadership position and applying for treasurer was not merely a whim. I used to be afraid of the question “Who are you?” and to an extent, I still am. But now, after this year of breaking out of the plateau of high school and living at home, I don’t mind it as much. It gives me something to think about.


I have focused on developing 4 of the G.O.A.L.S. during my time at OSU thus far.

In order to foster my Leadership Development, I have become a mentor for the Community Refugee and Immigration Services. Within this program, I have been paired with a child based on my language skills and the needs of the child, and I meet with her every week throughout the course of a year in order to develop a healthy relationship. Not only has this experience vastly improved my Spanish speaking and comprehension skills, it has also facilitated the creation of a bond between me and my mentee. It is amazing knowing that she looks forward to meeting with me every week and values our conversations as much as I do. It has also helped me value the things that I take for granted in my normal life, such as having all of my family with me in one country, and not being in constant fear of arrest or deportation just because of my ethnicity. CRIS does not provide mentors with any sort of curriculum for mentoring; they encourage mentors to come up with activities and conversation topics that have to fill up around 52 hours over the course of the year. This is not an easy assignment, and it requires more creative thinking and initiative in planning than I originally thought. It has gotten easier throughout the year as I learn my mentee’s interests and dislikes, and have gained a bit of confidence in my leadership ability.

I have also worked to foster Academic Enrichment. I have taken 4 semesters of classes now, and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single class I have taken. Enjoyment fosters learning. Not only do the general education courses force you to receive a more robust, comprehensive education, but they give you the chance to take a class outside your major but within the scope of your interests. However, academic enrichment does not solely come from classroom experience. I have learned through the various clubs, such as the Jump Rope Club, and my internship with a political campaign. I have learned by example and hands-on education that was not available to me before my time at The Ohio State University.

Lastly, I have gained Global Awareness. OSU is a diverse place. It teaches classes about the diversity that exists across the world. It holds events to showcase and celebrate diversity. I have benefitted from all of these. Through the International Affairs Scholars Program, I have made friends that I would not have otherwise met, but now tell me stories about their homes in India or Syria. I have taken classes on arabic culture, world literature, terrorism, and anthropology. I have been to events like African Night and the Food Fair that allow students to celebrate their cultures and educate others on their traditions. No, I am not 100 percent globally aware, but I am constantly on the lookout for more educational opportunities (which isn’t hard; they’re everywhere).