Live, Laugh, Languages – 11/9

IA Scholars Kerstin, Natalie, Kaleb, Mera, and Matt shared their experiences studying critical languages such as Russian, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic at Ohio State. I am minoring in Russian, so it was very interesting for me to hear the experiences of Mera and Matt, who both have studied Russian in different contexts. Mera initially learned Russian while living in Russia and Matt similarly learned Russian through meeting Russian people, while in China, because he is also learning Chinese. I learned about extra resources in Columbus and Ohio State that I could utilize to better my Russian language skills, such as participating in the Russian language tables, volunteering to speak with Russian seniors in Columbus, and obviously studying abroad, with scholarships such as the Fulbright, CLS or Gilman Scholarships that can entirely fund my trip.

I am minoring in Russian, which I have taken for 2 semesters now and through this event, I learned a lot about how to successfully study a critical language and how to best become immersed in speaking and studying the language. I am not entirely sure how my future career goals might incorporate Russian, because I initially just wanted to minor in Russian because I had space in my schedule and I took a Russian literature course during my first semester at OSU that piqued my interest in learning the language as well. However, after learning about the Russian language resources that can better my speaking skills, I am certain I will gain more academic success in my Russian language courses which are bound to get harder as I progress to higher levels, so enhancing my speaking and understanding of Russian outside the classroom will better my grades in higher-level courses.

IA Community Meeting – 10/28

This IA Community Meeting was a faculty spotlight where Dr. Ines Valde, an Associate Professor of the Political Science Department shared her research and the courses she is involved in teaching at Ohio State. As she described in her presentation, her research primarily focuses around the Politics of Immigration, Transnationalism and Cosmopolitanism, and the Imperial Origins of Western Democracies. What all of this has in common is the importance of race and the social construct of race in shaping our society today. Dr. Valdez started off her presentation by discussing a quote from WEB DuBois, who pointed out that  “territorial political and economic expansion of the West had made the contact and coexistence between Europeans and brown and black peoples inevitable.” Therefore, colonization became a large basis of the intermingling of different groups of people, who were then categorized into a hierarchy by their white colonizers on the basis of their skin.

The role of race in our society has become increasingly important to consider in our society today with the prominence Black Lives Matter movement and the development of the construct of race has irreversibly divided communities of color in America and around the world. People of color are discriminated against in nearly all aspects of society whether it is wealth, safety, or education and this is all a part of the legacy of colonization that thrived off of the exploitation of Black and Brown people in the Americas, Asia, and Africa to make white Europeans wealthy. It is certainly important to look at the issues of our society today and analyze the systemic institutions that have allowed these practices to come into place as we look to seek equality and empowerment for marginalized communities of color in the United States and around the world.

Dr. Valdez’s research seemed incredibly fascinating to me and I would certainly love to take one of her courses in the future if I have room in my schedule. Dr. Valdez’s teaches Introduction to Human Rights(IS 3450) and Racial Capitalism(PS 7410), which she discussed in her presentation. As an Economics major interested in studying socioeconomic disparities between different communities and ethnicities, the Racial Capitalism course seemed very interesting to me, but it is a graduate course, so I’ll hopefully be able to take similar courses for undergraduates in the future!

Conference for Conflict Resolution Education 10/30 – Academic

I was on the student planning committee for an international conference on Conflict Resolution Education. This conference was a two-week event that focused on youth engagement in conflict resolution for the first-weekend and then focused on both current professionals involved in diplomacy and peacebuilding along with students during the second week. As a member of the planning committee, I spent all summer working with students from different universities across Ohio and the United States to plan this online conference that people would be attending from around the world. Our planning included deciding on speakers who would present at the conference, deciding which type of events we would like to organize, and working on advertising the conference. As the Professional Development Chair in IA, I decided to also suggest including professional development events during the first weekend of the conference and we ended up including a resume workshop event during the first weekend!

One of the presentations for this conference that I attended and was a moderator for was called “Justice in Images: From the Amazon Rainforest to the United States of America.” The panelists for this event were Tyrone Turner, who is a photographer working for National Geographic and the Washington DC NPR Station along with Gabriele Sciortino, and Debora Komukai, who have both also worked with Tyrone and photographed people and events around the world. Tyrone shared his photography from New Orleans, LA where he got to capture the stories of Black communities in New Orleans through photojournalism. Gabriele is from Brazil and his photojournalism experience was centered around photography of the Brazilian rainforest and the indigenous communities there. Debora is also from Brazil and her photojournalism was focused on urban communities, particularly the lower-income marginalized communities, in the cities of Brazil. Through their photojournalism, I got to learn more about how photographers document the stories of various communities and how they aim to learn their stories without serving as a distraction. I thought it was fascinating to learn about the job and responsibilities of a photographer as an individual with the power to share stories from around the world and inspire peace and inclusivity, which is not something you always realize when you are quickly scrolling through the content of photographers on social media.

IA Alumni Panel 11/4- Professional Development

One of the things I wanted to do as the IA Professional Development Chair was increase engagement with IA Alumni and current members so current members could learn from alumni and maybe even gain mentorship and build personal relationships with alumni they may share a lot in common with. Through organizing this alumni panel, I hope that current IA members were able to learn from the experiences of past alumni who have all accomplished various amazing things across many different fields. I organized this by chance mostly, though sending a Google Form in the IA Facebook Group and hoping that alumni would respond and be interested in sharing their experiences with IA members. Luckily, I got four wonderful IA alumni to commit to having a panel discussion, who were by chance all pursuing very different things after graduation, so this event could appeal to many different members with different majors and career plans in mind.

The panelists were Sam Harris who is a student at Harvard Law School, Alex Northrop who is a student at Columbia Medical School, Courtney Johnson, who works for the Department of Homeland Security as a Communications Specialist and Brandon Hofacker, who recently works for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as an Executive Assistant. Since I was leading the panel discussion, I created the questions I would ask the panelists and sent them the questions weeks before, so they’d have time to prepare their answers. My questions focused on how the panelists were involved in OSU and how their involvements and experiences shaped their future career plans. For example, Courtney learned Hindi at OSU and got the Boren Scholarship, which is a Critical Language Scholarship for those studying languages who want to work for the government. Through the Boren Scholarship, Courtney got a Communications internship with the Department of Homeland Security, from which she got her current job. Similarly, Alex studied abroad in South America for a year after graduating from Ohio State, where he studied infectious diseases, and that further inspired him to attend medical school.

All of our panelists were very involved in areas of their interest at Ohio State and their involvements greatly inspired their career paths. From them, I learned that I should try to get involved in my interests as soon as I can to determine my career path, which I am certainly doing as a second-year. I hope many of the first-years who attended the panel also gained inspiration and ideas from the involvements of our alumni panelists that they may want to pursue themselves to either successfully pursue the career goals that they may already have in mind or get a better idea of what their future interests might be if they haven’t decided yet. With the pandemic and everything being online, it is certainly a lot harder for first-years to feel engaged on campus, especially when many of them might not even be on campus, but I hope that they can feel more engaged with the IA community through such events and get a better idea of how they can be engaged in the future!

OIA Third Party Study Abroad Events – Academic/Professional Development

This event was about third party study abroad Programs at OSU and it featured Jenny Kraft from the Office of International Affairs. Jenny first discussed study abroad events in general and then she discussed third-party study abroad programs, which are study abroad programs that OSU offers in partnership with a different university or programs that other universities offer that students can independently sign up for. I am interested in studying abroad in Summer 2021 in England either through the London School of Economics Summer Extension School, where I can take Economics courses at one of the greatest schools for Economics in the world and get credit for my major, or the Pembroke King’s College at the University of Cambridge where I can take courses in Economics or any other subjects and perhaps also be involved in research at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Both of these study abroad programs are technically third-party programs offered by Arcadia University in partnership with OSU, so I thought attending this program would be relevant for me and my future program wishes. I already knew a lot of information about study abroad programs that Jenny discussed prior to attending this event, but it was nice to have a reminder and gain some new information about study abroad through the event as well.

Interviewing Workshop with the Office of Counseling and Career Services – 10/6 Professional Development

This was an event I attended for my STEP PDP requirements, but I think that it will also be relevant to IA and my role as a Professional Development Chair on the IA LC.

In this session, I learned about the process of interviewing and what steps I can take to give the best interview. I learned that there are 4 types of questions companies and organizations ask during an interview. Interviewers ask technical questions which relate to the skill of the job you are applying for, personal questions, questions about future goals, and questions about your past experiences, all of which tell the company if you are qualified for the job you are seeking skill-wise and if you would be a good fit for the company you are applying for. I learned how to word my answers to interview questions, how to create answers if I don’t have a specific one in mind, and just gain more perspective of what the employer is looking for in an interview.

Interviewing is a very important skill to have for both when you are in college and after college when you may be attending graduate school or seeking a job. In college, I have already given multiple interviews when I applied to student organizations, applied for leadership positions in student organizations I was already in, and when I sought internships and research opportunities. I am applying to student organizations that require me to interview in the future as well, so I hope I will be able to apply what I learned at this workshop there. After college, I want to attend graduate school, where I will likely need to interview for the programs I am applying to so that universities can see if I am a good fit for the program. I’m certain that I can apply what I have learned in this workshop to future interviews not only in college but for the rest of my life.

As the Professional Development Chair, I would love to incorporate more events relating to interviewing, so I think that I will reach out to CCSS for organizing another event or try to host an interviewing workshop on my own!

Applying to a PhD Program with Sam Stelnicki – 10/12 Academic and PD Event

I attended IA Alum Sam Stelnicki’s event about applying to a Ph.D. Program. Sam was an Economics and Math major who graduated last year from Ohio State and now she is a first-year Economics Ph.D. student at OSU. Her research is focused on studying Experimental Economics which consists of other subsets of economics such as Game Theory and Behavioral Economics, all of which focus on developing and testing Economic theory in a real-world setting.

Sam gave a lot of advice on applying to graduate school and what grad school is like. Like Sam, I also want to go to graduate school and get a Ph.D. in Economics, so I found Sam’s advice to be super relevant and helpful. Sam was also my IA mentor last year, so I’m super thankful to IA for helping me build important meaningful connections that will really help me develop my future path!

I learned that to get into a Ph.D. program, I needed to have a good GPA, a good GRE score, research experience, and good recommendation letters. I’m definitely working on the first 2 things and I have also started to get research experience with faculty in the Economics department, but I have no clue if I’m developing good enough relations to get good recommendation letters so hopefully, that will change by the time I apply to graduate school senior year! Sam also discussed her life in graduate school, which is much more difficult than undergrad, as I would expect. She definitely made it seem scary and said that PhDs should only be pursued by those who 100% love their subject and want to get a Ph.D. While I would like to think that I really want to get a Ph.D. in Economics, maybe my mind will change closer to graduation or maybe I will realize that I really do want to get a Ph.D. Anyways, the future is scary and I’d like to think that graduation is far away enough from where I’m at now as a second-year college student in the middle of a pandemic.

Networking 101 with Ryan Wilhelm 9/15/20

As the Professional Development Chair for IA this year, this was the first event I organized and I hope that everyone in IA was able to gain important information about Networking for the future from this event!

This past summer, I participated in this event through the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Summer Experience Series Program, where in addition to listening to this presentation, I also had to apply it by networking with OSU alumni. I made great connections to 3 alumni who were OSU alumni I connected with through different activities I am involved in across campus. They all had very different career paths that weren’t necessarily the ones I wanted to embark on but talking to them exposed to many new career options and fields that I could consider taking. In his presentation, Ryan discussed that networking isn’t just an immediate connection that will lead you to a job or an internship. Rather, the most important part of networking is to develop a mentorship-like relationship with individuals that can grow with you, provide mutual benefits, and last for a long time. This was definitely not how I saw networking as, so I thought that this information could be really helpful for IA members who want to create networks to benefit them in the future. So, I reached out to Ryan during the summer and scheduled this event so that IA members could gain this helpful advice and start using it at the beginning of the semester to begin their networks. Nearly 20 members came to attend the event live(and hopefully many others saw it online!) which I thought was a great turnout, especially for my first IA event!

Education Abroad: Getting Started Session 9/09

I attended OIA’s Getting Started Session to study abroad, where I learned about the various different types of study abroad programs Ohio State has, the benefits of studying abroad, and how the costs of studying abroad can be made more affordable. This year I am participating in STEP and I would really like to study abroad next summer using my STEP funds, so I wanted to learn more about how to get started on applying to study abroad programs. The study abroad programs I am most interested in are the London School of Economics’s Summer School and the Pembroke King’s College Program at the University of Cambridge. Through studying abroad, I want to take Economics courses and experience how they are taught at some of the most prestigious universities in the world and how college in the UK differs from the US. Unfortunately, Ohio State has not decided if and how they will be operating Summer 2021 study abroad programs, so I am not entirely sure if I can apply yet. Despite COVID, I really hope that I will be able to study abroad this coming summer!

Research on Immigration Discourse in Germany (4/16/20)

4th Year IA TA Elena Akers, a German and International Studies Major, got the amazing Fulbright Teaching Assistantship where she will have the opportunity to teach English in Germany next year to native German speakers. She shared her research presentation at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum about how nature metaphors were being used in Germany to express anti-immigrant sentiment on social media. I knew about Germany’s open border policies that were adopted in 2015 to allow for refugees to come into the country and the backlash this caused that led to the rise of many right-wing groups, similar to the rise of the alt-right in America during the 2016 Presidential election and other right-wing governments around the world. Because of Germany’s unique hate speech censorship laws, direct statements of racism and xenophobia cannot be expressed in Germany, so these right-wing groups resort to various metaphors, especially nature-related ones, to express their messages and following on social media.

Elena got the idea of this topic from her IA 2nd year project and this idea carried along with her, leading her to write her thesis on this topic. Along with Elena’s research project, this presentation taught me a lot about the process of finding a topic, conducting research, finding a thesis advisor and the process of writing a thesis. I definitely want to write a thesis before I graduate, so all of this will certainly helpful for me because I had no idea what the thesis writing process was like. I am really glad that I was able to learn about the thesis writing process, so I can write mine in the future with more ease!