BuckeyeThon Dance Marathon 2020: The Fight Against Pediatric Cancer (Service Reflection)

Although the holidays have come and gone, the season for giving truly never ends. For the second year in a row, I participated in BuckeyeThon’s Dance Marathon here at Ohio State. BuckeyeThon is the largest student-run philanthropy in the state of Ohio. With the ultimate goal of ending childhood cancer, they raise funds and awareness for the Hematology, Oncology, and BMT Unit of Columbus’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital: Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

BuckeyeThon hosts a variety of events throughout the year, which culminate in its signature event: the Dance Marathon, a celebration full of hope and fun for the BuckeyeThon Families, Team Members, and supporters. This year, I pledged to be a Miracle Maker and raise as much money as possible in order to help Ohio State fundraise even more for Nationwide Children’s. I ended up raising approximately $591 dollars total For The Kids! The money raised goes to a wide variety of initiatives to help the Kids, such as Art Therapy, Chemotherapy treatments, cancer research, and even tutoring sessions with teachers.

This past weekend, I joined over a few thousand other Ohio State students and families, and danced for 12 hours! I dance for the kids who cannot. Many of the families and kids who have beaten pediatric cancer were able to dance the night away with us. Although we were in such an upbeat environment, our hearts were heavy for those families who couldn’t be with us that evening because they were sleeping in the hospital. Throughout the year (and the 24 hours), we have fundraised just over $1,600,000 For The Kids! This amount brings us that much closer to helping these families fight their battles.

BuckeyeThon is one of my favorite service events of the year. I joined the small team for International Affairs Scholars to dance the night away together, as a team. Every year, this event continuously impacts me in an unspeakable way. I am given a new respect for life, a new outlook on life, as well as a little bit of perspective thrown into the stressful experience of college. This year, it broke my hard to find out that one of our own students, a young woman who lives in my building, who was diagnosed with cancer. She was not able to join us for the night, but she was truly in all of our hearts. College may be hard for us, but there are always people fighting a bigger battle than midterms.

Although this event doesn’t quite overlap with the goals and generally concepts that IA focuses on, it does impact people all over the world, not just Ohio. Cancer is an epidemic, and it is a battle that no child should have to fight. As an Honors & Scholars student, I make it a point to participate in service learning in my own community, and this is a perfect example of relevancy of service. The community impacts us, and we help to impact the community, and that is an enormous part of Buckeye pride.

Why do we dance through the night? We dance for Samuel, we dance for Ben, we dance for Lauryn, we dance for Sam, we dance for Jackson, we dance for Liam, we dance for Avalon, we dance for Carter, we dance for Corbin, we dance for Dominic, we dance for Hailey, we dance for Hayden, we dance for Jermaine, we dance for Josh, we dance for Kinley, we dance for Luke, we dance for Pax, we dance for Regan, we dance for Reid, we dance for Sean, and lastly, we dance for all of those fighting this battle like a superhero day in and day out!


For The Kids!

Food Insecurity and Mental Health: An Unexplored Global Health Concern – February 2nd, 2020 (Academic Reflection)

Science Sundays is a free lecture series that hosts discussions and symposiums based on a wide variety of emerging issues and science that impact us every day. Each speaker is obviously an expert in their field and the opportunity to converse with them after the event is one to be taken. In my opinion, programs hosted by Science Sundays here at The Ohio State University are a very cool resource to engage both students as well as the community on topics that are making an impacting the world. That being said, my favorite of these speakers has been Barbara Piperata: an associate professor of Anthropology at OSU who researched a plethora of issues that overlap with concepts of International Affairs as well as Biology and Public Health.

Although I have seen Professor Piperata speak before at an IA meeting, I was entranced by her studies, so when presented with the opportunity to go to a lecture of hers, I was stoked! A good portion of the discussion was focused on her research in Nicaragua and the Brazilian Amazon which focused on food security, lactation, and the ways socioeconomic conditions and cultural practices interact to shape the formation of the infant gut microbiome. Many of these issues arise from the instability of the household, workforce, economy, family, etc. One thing I found particularly interesting about this discussion was that these places never lacked the resources to obtain the food; the food was there, the world has enough food. However, the people do not have the means to acquire that food, whether it be location, money, or the way to acquire the right foods for what they need.

The research conducted by Professor Piperata was astounding:  she found that 25% were food secure, 50% were low insecure, and 25% were high insecure. Additionally, she observed from in home interviews with women and the data collected through survey,  she found that women in mildly insecure households have a 43% higher rate of mental distress, and women in moderately/severe insecure households are 2x as likely to have anxiety and/or depression. There are a few things that can buffer and reduce this issue, such as parental advising, social groups, etc., but interestingly enough, the spouses were of little help to the issue. There is a quite a social stigma regarding asking for help, so these women often believe that asking for help is a failure to their one duty: to be a mother. Piperata also brought up important issues regarding how this data is relevant to our own community: there are 40 million people in the U.S. who are food insecure, and 16.5% of people in Franklin County do not know where their next meal will come from.

Overall, this event was very impactful on a personal level. It really brought to my attention an issue that I didn’t realize was so impactful on a community, and exposed me to how my own actions could help. It overlapped with many themes of studying cultures other than our own, but also remained relevant no matter what part of the world we are in. I think Professor Piperata’s research will remain applicable and relevant to communities all over the world, and like she said, it’s not an issue of not having food, but rather the means to retrieve it.

Music as Labor, Music as Work – January 27th, 2020 (Campus Reflection)

On Monday, January 27th, 2020, from 4 – 5:30 PM at 18th Avenue Library, Dr. Sonia Seeman hosted an academic discussion based on the theme of migration, mobility, and immobility when it comes to the music industry from the early 1900’s to the present. Dr. Seeman specifically studies the past 100 years of Turkish-Roman musician family narratives. Turkish-Roman musicians typically view their work as what Dr. Seeman describes as “earning bread money” to feed their families and provide shelter. Dr. Seeman believes that their own perspective completely disregards the complexity of their training, extensive labor, and highly developed skill sets regarding the themes of in-family trade. The ideology of family trade is essential to their success as musicians, as they would marry in those instrumentalists that were missing from their groups. Dr. Seeman believes that at the time of “earning bread money,” the musicians viewed music simply as a way to survive. This talk explored the developments of the lives of Turkish-Roman professional musicians in their own stories, experiences, recordings, etc. Dr. Seeman plans to release a book about these themes and their importance to the economy, to family, and to the industry.

I found this event particularly interesting because I had never truly been to an academic discussion/presentation in my own industry because they are few and far in between. I found the work that Dr. Seeman was researching to be quite entrancing, even though some of it did go a little bit over my head, as I do not study music theory. In the future, I hope to attend more academic discussions regarding research in the music industry because I honestly didn’t even know that there were opportunities to do so. I hope that I will be able to conduct my own research in the industry as well because it is an essential part of growth and we have the tools to do research at this University.

I did find it interesting how much this event coincided with the ideology of International Affairs! A heavy portion of the hour and a half discussion focused solely on the migration of these families from the middle east to eastern Europe, as well as trading musicians throughout this area. The discussion gave me a new perspective on the economy in places other than the US, which is relevant to the business trends I study every day in the classroom.

Academically and professionally, this event was successful. Again, I was able to learn about things I never knew existed in my field, and I hope to get more involved. Although I love the concept of ethnomusicology, I would not necessarily want to study more of the Turkish-Roman trends. Perhaps in the future I will study the sounds of Africa and how they shifted to South America, and how they overlap with our own popular music today. These are the themes that interest me more so, but overall I do believe Dr. Seeman would be a great resource in order to guide my future research!