This semester, I was lucky enough to take my first film photography class. As a photo major, I have only worked with digital previously and this was a unique and exciting way to extend my portfolio and skill. My final portfolio was particularly important to me, as I documented how the female form interacts with nature. I used my little sister for the shoot and it was a great experience for both of us, as I haven’t shot with her in a long time. I think that this class has allowed my skill level to improve dramatically, as I feel much more comfortable using a completely manual camera now. This will greatly benefit me in my major field.
One of the most powerful experiences of my freshman year was being selected for and attending the Clinton Global Initiative University 2016 Conference at the University of California Berkeley. To be accepted, I had to come up with an initiative, mine being to establish an education program for public school teachers on diabetes awareness. I will start my initiate in Shaker Heights and hopefully it will grow from there. The conference was really inspirational, with speakers from the Clinton family to Conan O’Brian to one of the six original freedom fighters. I met with the blind/deaf lawyer Haben Girma, who gave me advice about my initiate. I am so lucky to have attended and I hope to go again next year.
When deciding between the honors and scholars programs at Ohio State, I thought about what I wanted out of my freshman year: a close knit group of friends and a great floor community. IA scholars gave me just that. My roommate and I were disappointed at first to be placed on the overflow floor for our program, but we learned in just a few short weeks that our placement was the best thing to happen to us. Through this program, I have found exactly what I was looking for. I met the greatest people this year, ones who I know will always have my back. I look forward to living with a group of friends that I met through this program next year.
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The transition from high school to college was an easy one for me: I was ready to get out of my high school social scene and ready to meet new people. My freshman was everything that I wanted and more. I feel like I’ve grown as a person by learning to live with someone who was at first a complete stranger, by being (almost) financially independent, and not having my mom around when I’m sick. I’ve become a more independent person, which is something that I struggled with previously. I have found friends that for the first time in my life I truly feel like I’ll know them forever. Although parts of this year have no doubt been tough, I think that my life has changed for the better because of it.
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For my artifact, I have chosen my Millennium Goals Project. This project is one that I completed for my international affairs scholars’ seminar, after researching the sixth goal: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. In Southern Africa, 25% of the population has HIV/AIDS. And while Malaria is curable, I learned that children in rural areas of the region often find the disease to be fatal due to lack of healthcare. These realizations changed my perspective on these ailments significantly. This project was important to me because it not only got me thinking about the Millennium Goal to which I was assigned, but also all of the other ones presented. I believe that having more of a global mindset and focusing on issues in regions outside of the United States is so important for students. The project reminded me again of how fortunate I am and allowed me to begin thinking of ways to spread the good will.
I have begun to work on a project in which I will educate teachers on chronic diseases. Although this is a local endeavor, I hope that one day I can use this and what I have taken from my Millennium Goals project to expand ideas like this one globally.
After quitting my part-time job at a café to start a photography business, my sophomore year of high school changed quite a bit. I began working small local gigs, from Christmas card pictures to birth announcements. However, I found my client list growing longer and the jobs greater. Soon after starting the business, I was shooting at bar mitzvahs and weddings. For my personal work, I focused on issues close to home; depicting the microcosm that is my community through photographs. My work was displayed in small gallery spaces after winning local competitions, but it wasn’t until a photograph of mine was displayed at the Houses of Parliament in London when I decided that photojournalism was what I wanted to do. The image, a simple 11×14 color photograph of my sister was appealing, but it was the blurb of 150 words next to it that brought it meaning. The words explain her struggle with type one diabetes and explained why more should be aware of the chronic disease. Although the grins in family portraits are laughable, I decided that I wanted my photography to mean something.
Being a photographer is a large part of who I am, however throughout my schooling I’ve always held interest in other subjects as well. It was for that reason that I chose The Ohio State University. Here, I am majoring in art with a specialization in photography. I am minoring in International Studies and Diplomacy and thinking about adding a geography minor as well. My passion for international affairs is just as important to stress, as I have hopes of being a photojournalist. My involvement in the International Affairs Scholars program as well as the Collegiate Council on World Affairs have also helped me grow closer to that goal.