International Perspectives on Coronavirus Pandemic – ePortfolio Reflection

On April 22nd, at 9:00AM EST., I, along with several other International Affairs Scholars, joined in to a guided Zoom panel to discuss International Perspectives on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Some of the special guests were Aubin & Elsa from France, Niklas from Germany, and Ivy & Rainbow from China. All of the guests on this panel were able to give us a more in-depth perspective on their own local communities.

Throughout the duration of the panel, guiding questions were asked in order to see how things differed from country to country. The first observation that I noticed is that both work and study plans have changed drastically across the world in similar manners. For example, both Niklas and Ivy agreed that the transition to online school has been a bit slow and stressful, but hasn’t greatly impacted their ability to learn. Furthermore, Rainbow added that the transition for her hasn’t been too bad. The three of them all agreed that the situation itself wasn’t quite that bad; they all enjoy learning from a distance for the most part. I found it especially interesting that both Ivy and Rainbow prefer classes online compared to in person because that is a quite different case in the United States. Although they both preferred this distance learning over traditional classroom settings, they did touch on how difficult the curriculum is in China and how difficult it might be for younger students. I found it interesting that Germany is considering reopening universities when in the US, we are still considering closing universities in the upcoming fall due to COVID-19. Additionally, in Germany they are not on a complete lockdown, but rather just extended social distancing mandated by each state. In France, restrictions are much more rigid. Initially, France didn’t take COVID seriously, which ultimately made the circumstances much worse in their country. Aubin & Elsa said there were only three reasons that you could provide in order to leave your place of quarantine: to work (if essential), to see close family (1 KM around), and to get essentials. If you go further than 1 KM, it is very highly regulated. For example, QR codes are needed in order to travel. When it comes to protesting in order to reopen the economy, the United States is having the most. In France, it is common opinion that it is not necessary to go back to work quite yet whereas the US is a working oriented culture.

Overall, I think this panel has some wonderful insights, and was a great way to connect with peers all over the world to check in. The discussion itself was highly related to international affairs and the values of the organization. It truly opened my eyes to what is occurring around the world because during this time of quarantine, I have neglected staying on top of international news, as I have been focused on my immediate community. However, I am glad I am able to look a the situation with fresh eyes and an open mind with an international perspective.

 

Multicultural Center Workshop: Who Am I? (Professional Development, February 16th, 2020)

Although the MCC was just in my backyard, I had never been to an event due to fear of having conversations that would leave me feeling unresolved, guilty of my own identity, or even upset about disagreements between others. However, my expectations couldn’t have been more incorrect. Immediately, I was greeted by a diverse pool of leaders that I was already familiar with, and we had a very open discuss in a conducive and comfortable environment. This level of comfort allowed us to openly discuss the “big 8” social identities (age, ability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion), the difference between minoritized groups and dominant groups, the fluidity of privilege, and much more. We the learned the importance of being aware of the ways that identity and privilege impact our lives and interactions with others.

After the event, we were given two questions to reflect on: 1) what is one way that you will use this information moving forward, and, 2) What concept(s) will you commit to learning more about? Moving forward, I plan to open more conversations regarding diversity in my community as well as identity, and I plan to learn more about how identity impacts our every decision as well as how privilege affects ones choices. I will hold those leaders around me to be just as accountable to their own goals and to further their understanding of the communities around them.

Obviously, this event intersects with the core values of Ohio State, International Affairs, and Honors & Scholars in the most important way. With about 20 other potentially amazing leaders in our Columbus community, we discussed issues that our predecessors either failed to discuss or only discussed closed minded. As the leaders of the next generation, we were able to discuss both our own diverse identities as well as how it impacts everything we do.

This event impacted me professionally as well as personally by opening the doors to conversations I had been too scared to have with others previously due to the stigma surrounding the issues we discussed. Furthermore, Ashley was able to provide me with information on how to get more involved with MCC as well as how I could benefit from this participation in the long-run. I have decided it is in my best interest to pursue and study diversity through the DICE Certificate Program this upcoming semester. The DICE Certificate Program will allow me to explore diversity, intercultural engagement, and socially-just leadership both inside and outside of the workplace. As a professional in my industry, these interpersonal skills are priceless, but mandatory. Personally, my participation in this program will only change me for the better as well as open my mind to endless possibilities.

So, who am I? I am an American, straight, white, middle-class, Christian, privileged twenty-year old female, with many other identities that are not shown on the surface. When it comes to a scale of privilege, it is not black and white. I fall on both ends of the spectrum, as do most people. When it comes to identity, it is much more than meets the eye.

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!

STEP Expo – November 20th, 2019 (Academic Reflection)

The Second-year Transformational Experience Program, commonly known as STEP, is a program that is designed to redesign the on-campus experience for students. STEP allows students to engage in activities that are suited to their own interests by engaging with faculty members in a group-setting. These faculty mentors develop students professionally, financially, and personally. The program was designed to improve student engagement. Additionally, members of STEP get to explore the six categories: Education Abroad, Internships, Undergraduate Research, Service-Learning and Community Service, Leadership, and Creative and Artistic Endeavors. The study of these themes is designed to prep students to plan their own signature project, in which a fellowship up to $2,000 will be awarded to each student for them to explore the STEP themes independently. Each year, the STEP program holds two expos in which past students present their signature projects at The Ohio Union.  This allows participating students to present what they learned to faculty, staff, community members, and their own peers.

Last year, I made the decision to enroll in a cohort to participate in this amazing program. This past Wednesday, I was able to attend the STEP Expo. Overall, I was able to get a better idea about what I want to do for my own signature project, and advice from my peers about how to achieve the results that I want. At the Expo, I reviewed five posters made by my peers.

The first poster I was drawn to was focused on the STEP category of Education Abroad. This particular student studied abroad in Bologna, Italy over the summer in order to obtain her Italian minor. I found it interesting that she wanted to be placed in a particular city for the entirety of her experience abroad, but it was a unique perspective indeed. Her reasoning was that in the time she was there, she was able to fully immerse herself in the culture in order to make the city feel like her home. What she learned in her time abroad related heavily to what we value and study as International Affairs Scholars; it was a culturally immerse program where she intensely studied another language and a variety of customs out of her comfort zone. Overall, I do not think I would do this exact project for myself, but I am definitely leaning towards doing an education abroad program.

As I was most interested in the education abroad programs, I mainly socialized with others who did similar programs. The other posters I visited surrounded the themes of Human Impacts on the Natural Environment (Education Abroad, Australia), Cross-Cultural Solutions (Community Service, Costa Rica), Industry Immersion Global Lab (Education Abroad, Northern Italy), and finally, University of Sydney (Education Abroad & Internship, Australia). All of these students were able to make the trip their own unique experience, and they were all able to fully immerse themselves through engagement in other cultures outside of their comfort zones. I found it interesting that all of the projects I looked at were able to make me interested – even if they were programs I had not initially planned on looking in to. In addition, it was a beautiful transformation of growth that I was able to visualize through their passion in presenting their posters.

Overall, the Expo, and STEP, have both made a significant impact on me personally and professionally. OSU has provided me with the resources to set goals and achieve them to grow myself outside of the classroom. Next year, I plan to connect my STEP experience with IA by participating in an education abroad program. One might ask where I plan to go, but that is still to come :).

 

CRIS Mural Project – Sunday, October 27th, 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM (Extra Service Reflection)

Community Refugee and Immigration Services, or CRIS, is a non-profit organization that aids immigrants and refugees, and eases their transition into the community. Every year, CRIS works with various schools across the Columbus community, providing children with mentors in the area. In addition, CRIS will paint inspirational murals throughout the city schools. This past Sunday, a small group of International Affairs Scholars, including myself, were able to lend a hand in the painting of a mural at a school in Westerville, OH. The initial plan was to be outside painting a mural for everyone to see, but unfortunately, the weather was against us. In only a couple of days notice, a few of my peers were able to design three new murals for some of the interior walls of the building.

When we arrived at the school, we were welcomed by an employee of the school, and offered some free food. After eating, we began to get to work on our murals! It was really a fun program to participate in, as painting is a very therapeutic activity. Working alongside my peers was also a great experience, and quite humorous, as the majority of us are not artsy whatsoever. Although we splashed paint all over the place (yikes!), they could not be more thankful for the work we had done. On two walls, we painted the skeleton of a tree, in which leaves with inspirational messages will be placed. These leaves are meant to be taken by students who may need encouragement throughout the day. On the other wall, a hand was depicted, with an inspirational message from Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

I never have more fun doing service than I do when partnering with CRIS on their murals. It is an event I have come to look forward to every year.  Service is not just a task when I’m with CRIS; it may benefit me more than anyone else that will get to witness the painting. As I had learned prior, these mural events typical bring more joy and less stress into my life. After talking to the employee who was overseeing the project, I quickly realized how much these murals mean to the students in the building. The mural will be meant to help those students who do not necessarily have people fighting in their corner, and if they need hope, they know where to find it. In addition, they are subtly reminded to always be kind to one another, which is indeed a beautiful message for any community to broadcast.

CRIS is definitely an organization that ties in the values of the University, Honors & Scholars, as well as specifically the values of IA. It represents a way to become globally engaged while also giving a helping hand to the community that surrounds you. It allows us to build our leadership skills outside of the classroom. Moving forward, I look forward to working with CRIS again due to enrichment it bring to my life and experience at OSU.

Global Engagement Night – Indigenous People’s Day (Campus Reflection)

Every week, both domestic and international students are invited to gather at the Office of International Affairs, in the Enarson Classroom building, to participate in conversations with varied themes. On October 15th, the topic of discussion was Indigenous People’s day. Although our country only recognizes the national holiday of Columbus Day, many states are beginning to recognize the holiday as Indigenous People’s Day instead. Through this campus-wide event, we learned more than what the textbooks taught us. We learned about the history behind Columbus Day, as well as how a multitude of cultures were impacted and oppressed due to the representation of their people. We learned how these people began to stand up for what they believe in by fighting for their rights and recognition once again.

Global Engagement Night began by doing a quick ice breaker and munching on some snacks. Following, we began our discussion along with a guided powerpoint. We were asked to reflect on our educational systems and our knowledge of Columbus Day. After a quick discussion, we were made aware of how poorly the books recorded what truly happened when the America’s were colonized by Christopher Columbus. When our ancestors landed in this “new” world that was thought to be “uncolonized,” they introduced a number of diseases into the native people’s communities. In addition, they were viewed not as people, but rather as inferiors. Our ancestors treated them with violence and as our inferiors; they quickly became slaves. All of these horrible recollections came as a shock to me. My knowledge of Columbus day prior to last week was pride and hope in finding a new land. I knew that the indigenous and our ancestors did not always get along, but I never realized the reasons why. Our ancestors were taking away their cultures with each step into the “new” world. My minimal knowledge of Columbus Day is not uncommon; in fact, it is the way the date is recorded in the history books that we are taught from. Columbus Day was initially introduced into our culture by the previously oppressed Italian-American communities. They took pride into their history and relation to Christopher Columbus. Although not intended, this pride even further oppressed the Indigenous population. In more recent years, the remaining indigenous groups are fighting for the recognition of their ancestors through replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Many states have began to recognize this holiday rather than Columbus Day.

I believe this event is especially important to International Affairs because of the lack of education and misguided learning that has been misrepresenting and oppressing a multitude of cultures, all around the world. Overall, I gained a lot from this event. I learned a lot about the Indigenous population that I had never known before, and I have a new found respect for their culture. I think this was overall a great event to increase awareness of this issue in today’s world, and overall aligns with not only the values of Honors & Scholars, but the university as a whole.

Community Commitment Day – Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Community Commitment Day is held annually at The Ohio State University to allow students to serve their community during the first week of life back on campus. Although I used this event to fulfill my service requirement for Honors & Scholars, Community Commitment Day meant much more to me and my peers. There is something beautiful about serving and exploring the Columbus community with over 1,000 of our peers. The support from the community around us is endless, and in order to return this support, we serve the community on the first weekend of the year.

Before

This year, I was honored enough to serve a community just outside of the city. Along with many other IA Scholars, I travelled to Clintonville’s Community Resource Center (CRC). During our time at the CRC, we were further divided into groups of five to help clean the yards of the elder CRC members. When we arrived at the home of those who were serving, I quickly introduced myself to the beautiful couple. They were able to direct us to where the outside of their home needed work and provide us the tools in order to do so. We were led to the backyard, where we saw an overwhelming amount of weeds that needed to be pulled – including poison ivy (yikes!). The gentleman later came out and entrusted me with a manual weed wacker! I quickly, and safely, got down to work. Although I was sweating within five minutes, serving this family made me incredibly happy, and to do it with some of my best friends made it even better. I was also able to spend some time with a few first years, and quickly befriended them!

After

About two hours later, we were about halfway done with the yard, which was unfortunately where our service needed to end for the day. When we began cleaning up our materials, it was incredible to see the results we had achieved. The family was extremely appreciative of our hard work, and even commented on how beautiful it was!

The event relates to the topic of International Affairs very nicely because it allows us to serve the community around us, and get involved with those different than ourselves. Although not on an international scale, diversity was present throughout the day as we worked hard. Diverse ages, majors, interests, and backgrounds came together in order to accomplish a simple mission. Although not a traditional method of learning, I think service experience offers one a lot of knowledge. Personally, I relearned the idea that service can be fun when you enjoy what you’re doing. It was definitely a great way to start out the school year.

Once we all returned to the CRC, the managers expressed their gratefulness to us all, and sent us on our way back to campus. While we were all physically exhausted, we were mentally satisfied with how we spent our mornings.

Below, I attached a link to the CRC’s website where more details can be found about who they are, what their mission is, as well as events for which they may need volunteers.

https://www.clintonvillecrc.org/

Academic Reflection: “Period. End of Sentence.”

On Monday, March 8th, I attended a movie night with several of my International Affairs peers. The movie night was designed as a way of engaging our scholars group by building a sense of community while also learning about other cultures. The movie of choice for this month was titled “Period. End of Sentence.” This flick was of particular interest for me because it had won an Oscar for a topic rarely talked about it the media: periods.

The movie itself took place in a community in rural India, where the menstruation stigma persists day to day. Many women seek employment in the industry of making feminine care products – pads, in particular. As one would guess, the market for these products is relatively small while the stigma remains strong. Many of these women had never had a job before, as that is not the commonality in rural areas of India. These inspirational women learn how to produce low-cost pads while they aim to become more more independent, both employment wise and financially. The group travels to local markets and begin to grow their business to break the stigma.

The documentary was truly a piece of art. I knew that stigma about menstruation existed, however, I never thought to consider how this many differ in cultures other than my own. The film definitely brought to my attention how much of an issue this is, but it also inspired me to be less embarrassed of the stigma in my own culture. I would definitely recommend others watch the short film in order to open their eyes to diverse cultures. It truly changed how I view situations regarding women’s health. In addition, I think it is wonderful that these women are becoming entrepreneurs in a market with a very split ratio of men to women.

The event coincides nicely with both the goals of International Affairs and Honors and Scholars G.O.A.L.S. It was definitely an interesting event to attend with my peers due to our own countries’ stigma about periods, so I think everyone was blushing a bit, but that really made us open our eyes and ears for the discussion. The event itself brought awareness to diversity and different cultures while also supplementing some community work and course work that we have participated in throughout our first year. In accordance with Honors and Scholars, it raised global awareness by encouraging us to learn about topics sensitive to the media in other cultures.

I gained a lot from this event, but I think I gained the most personally. The documentary taught me a lot about how diverse cultures experience everyday tasks as challenges. It also brought gender inequality to my attention as well. I had never truly been an advocate for gender equality because I have never been exposed to the inequality, which is a true blessing.

Overall, the educational documentary was very moving, and I would recommend anyone to watch it for an eye-opening experience on multiple levels.

https://www.netflix.com/title/81074663