Final Reflection for CGS Spring ’18

As I reflect on my time at the Center for Global Studies this semester, I look back with nothing but gratitude for the chance to earn a lot of tangible skills. As a freshman, I was a bit intimidated by the idea of interning with students older than me; however, I learned that they are actually great role models and provide really great advice on future endeavors.

Some of the responsibilities that I had at the Center were attending lectures and other events, writing about the lectures for the monthly newsletter, attending World Stories Alive! and various other tasks Sarah, Shannon, and Emily needed me to do.

My big project for the semester was to compile information about faculty members at Penn State that related to the mission of the Center for the National Resource Center Grant awarded by the US Department of Education. This was a huge project that I was interested in right as Sarah mentioned it to me in our interview. Even though the information was pretty simple, I enhanced my research skills and learned how to be more proactive and creative about where I find certain information. I also had a deadline that Sarah and I set, and it was right in the middle of a hectic time of the semester. However, I used my time management skills and tried to prioritize the tasks that needed to be done. Time management and responsibility were two values that Sarah and I spoke of during our interview, and while I felt like I had a good handle on them then, I definitely have improved as well.

My favorite part about the Center is the fact that there are limitless opportunities for the tasks that need to be done. I like that Sarah tries to cater the learning experience to what the interns are interested in. Therefore, I am really excited to announce that I will be coming back to the Center next semester! I am really excited to further my professional relationship with the Center, Sarah, Shannon, and all of the other staff affiliated with the Center. My goals are to plan my own event during International Studies week, to become a type of mentor to the new interns, and to work on more challenging things for the Center.

Thank you to everyone involved at CGS this semester; it was an incredible experience for me!

 

Mid-Internship Evaluation

After interviewing Sarah, the intern supervisor, I realized that although all interns are given similar tasks, we are welcome, actually encouraged, to take initiatives to work on our own projects. For instance, Stacy, a fellow intern, is interested and therefore, is doing Grant Research. I’m knowledgeable about the issues in Myanmar and interested in teaching so I’m developing a curriculum on Myanmar.

The Center for Global Studies (CGS) internship has given the interns the opportunities to volunteer at various community events from World Stories Alive and many lecture series. Out of the many events I was able to attend, the most fascinating one has been the lecture with Dr. Emile Bruneau of University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bruneau studies the psychology behind inter-group conflicts among other things and as I am already involved with the research on ethnic conflicts, the lecture widened my perspective and introduced an innovative solution to the problem.

I learned to communicate effectively and I’m also finally learning to manage a social media platform. I initially underestimated the time that is necessary to manage a social media account and as a result, I was unable to make announcements in a timely manner. As I found new ways of making announcements about upcoming events, which involves a lot of planning and organizing, I have begun to effectively manage the page.

The internship has been a great learning experience as well as a fun one as the interns and co-workers work effectively with each other. There’s a lot of laughers in the office and it is a good environment to work at.

Mid-Term Self Eval at the Center

As it is April, and we have 1 month left for the internship, I reflect on my time at CGS thus far very positively! We just completed our 2nd newsletter for the semester where I wrote 2 reflections on the events that I participated in. I conducted an interview with Dr. Richard Delacy and volunteered at a number of CGS sponsored events.

For the second half of this semester, I have been working on various grant research projects for Sarah that have been very detail oriented. I appreciate that Sarah is giving me these tasks because it is giving me the space to work on my time management skills and research and compiling information skills. I think the most important part of an internship is learning how to act in a professional setting, and CGS has been a really good entry point for me within that area. I really like working with Sarah, Shannon, Emily, and my other two amazing interns, Nay and Zack. It is a really collaborative environment filled with laughs and an easy and comfortable vibe.

World Stories Alive! is almost over; there is 1 more event April 14th. I have participated in 3 WSA! events, and it is one of the most amazing programs that CGS is doing. I am amazed at how connected the community is to bilingual learning, and it is really humbling to see the same people show up every weekend. The platform CGS sets up in order for these events, and all other events, to happen with professionalism and care is really inspiring for me to witness.

As for the rest of the semester, I am helping with the Undergraduate Symposium on April 6th, where our very own Nay is presenting! I am also working on compiling information of faculty bios for the NRC Grant. I volunteered at German Day where I was a chaperone for about 2 hours. The program is a really amazing resource for high school students to have pride in learning another language and recognize that, at Penn State, there is an outlet for whatever anybody wants to learn.

I am sad that my time at the Center is ending, but I am really appreciative for the opportunity to work with all the incredible people I mentioned above and be involved in promoting global studies at Penn State.

Hopes and Expecations for CGS Spring 2018

This semester I have been afforded the opportunity to intern at the Center for Global Studies, alongside my fellow interns Nay and Stacy. I took this opportunity to better learn the inner workings of an academic organization. Seeing how they organize, conduct outreach and work to provide academic funding for faculty and students alike. I also love to work with kids, and we’ll have a chance to do that with World Stories Alive! a language initiative on our part to expose local kids to foreign cultures and languages.

In my first month of working at the Center for Global Studies we learned the ropes, coordinating our schedules, setting up office hours and setting up general responsibilities for the coming semester. I was responsible for attending a lecture on state building, and the recent experience of a State department official in Iraq. I learned a lot about the state department in Iraq and our efforts to rebuild the country following the end of the war.

I hope this experience pushes me to learn things I would not have otherwise learned, and gives me worthwhile skills that I will be continue to use in future careers. I also hope to have conversations with people I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to talk to. At the most fundamental level, I hope to be exposed to foreign cultures, and learn about them in a fashion I otherwise would not have.

First Blog Post: Experience so far and Expectations

I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. The first month at the Center for Global Studies (CGS) has been pleasant. When it comes to work, there are two things that are most important: the work itself and the colleagues. Fortunately, at the CGS, work is interesting and so are the people.

A lot of planning went in for the upcoming events for the semester – a semester lasts four months- that are quickly approaching. The interns had a taste of the pace of the work and the communication that is essential for the success of the center’s work.

I had a chance to go to my first 2018 Spring Series event where I was introduced to an immigrant, writer, novelist Lisa Ko and her book The Leavers. The book explores the life of a Chinese illegal immigrant in the US and her separation with her son as she was captured by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He son was adopted by a wealthy Canadian couple and the book explores his search for his long-lost mother as well.

Besides the cool event, I have been given a chance to help organize our very own World Stories Alive (WSA) where we invite speakers of foreign languages to teach languages to kids as young as two to primary school students through songs and stories. We cordially invite you to our event.

So far, the work has not been hectic, but soon it should. I expect to be able to continue doing the things that I have been, but at a higher intensity in the coming months. I also expect to work on a curriculum development which I am excited about. I gave my shot at this internship because I was excited and interested and so far, the center hasn’t disappoint. It will be a good way for me to end my undergraduate career, working alongside my new friends at CGS.

 

First Month Experience and Expectations for CGS ’18

 

My first month experience at The Center for Global Studies was already very impactful for me personally and professionally. The environment at the office is really collaborative and has a lot of open space to ask questions and to be hard-working, which I really appreciate and respect. Being a freshman, it is a really cool thing for me to experience being in a professional setting with individuals who are very different from me because I can learn from their experiences and their expertise.

I had already attended a couple of events through CGS such as the SIA lecture given by James Piazzia on Terorism, an event with Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers, and an event co-sponsored with the CGS and the Career Enrichment Network on a workshop for Jobs and Internships in the Government during Liberal Arts Career Week. All of these events were very diverse and really informative for me on things that I can use academically, professionally, and personally.

I really enjoyed the Terrorism lecture because it gave me some insight into the professor who I might end up taking a class with next year. I enjoyed the event with Lisa Ko because it was in a different setting to talk about global issues in terms of having those hard discussions on immigration through fiction and personal stories. The workshop on Jobs and Internships in the Government is one that I am going to write about in the newsletter because they gave out so much professional information on how to apply for a job/internship on a database as difficult as USAJOBS, or how the timelines of applications and when to be thinking about certain opportunities and how to prepare for them while making the most of your time at Penn State. All of these different events already have me thinking in various different directions on how we can have global conversations on campus through different mediums.

Lisa Ko Speaking at Schlow Library on Jan 29th

As for my expectations for my time at the Center, I really don’t have many. I came to this experience with an open mind, so I don’t want expectations to affect my outlook or opinion on the work that I am going to be doing. Sarah really took to heart the goals that I shared with her during my interview and already gave me a small grant writing project that I am working on currently, which I really appreciate! I don’t want to have expectations because I want to develop myself through various different tasks that I hope to be doing, so I don’t want anything to deter me from that development.

Overall, I am really happy with my time at CGS already, and I am really excited for all of the upcoming projects!

Farewell to the CGS

This is not an easy goodbye and definitely will be bittersweet as I move on after this semester. The last five months have flown by and it seems like just yesterday I was meeting Sarah, Mary, and Emily for the first time. In that short time, though, so many memories have been made, friendships ignited, and lessons learned.

I would like to start with explaining all that I’ve learned through the ups and downs of this semester. Moving forward as a student and in my career, these lessons will forever be valuable, of which I will be forever grateful. Primarily, I learned how vital communication is to a professional work environment, and I don’t think I’ve ever checked my email as much or been as attentive to messages as I have been at the CGS. Many deadlines approached with a limited amount of time in the office, and if communication would have been strained, everything would have crumbled.

Apart from all of the information I learned from sitting in on CGS-sponsored events, I also learned how to professionally conduct myself in a personal and cyber manner. I learned how to formally introduce people through email and learned how to communicate with those that are equal to me such as my fellow intern Katie, but also to those who were way above me in schooling, education, and their career such as with Bassem Youssef, Dr. Jens-Uwe Guettel, or the many professors I crossed paths with.

Another aspect of my internship that has taught me a lot has been teaching at Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School, where I lead three after-school clubs on world cultures, comparative politics, and journalism. While I specifically learned how to manage a large group of kids in a classroom, I learned workplace incentive and punishment through working with these students. I have witnessed the immense power a treat or consequence has on one’s actions and I see myself using this same technique in a position of authority at a job in 

the future. Also, these kids taught me patience, which is crucial to any profession. It was rare to walk into the classroom and the students to already have pencils in hand, ready to go, so it was a learning curve to get them enthusiastic and ready to go every day. While some persisted to fight the system, I believe many of the students became engaged and excited to learn, something that is very rewarding to me.

I want to finish by thanking everyone at the CGS for their help over the semester, making it as low stress and easy as possible. Sarah and Mary helped so much with professional advice and pointers throughout the semester and both assisted me in many ways with my clubs at YSCP. Emily was enthusiastic everyday, helping with events, and making every minute around her joyful. Katie worked tremendously hard and picked up my slack whenever I was busy with clubs or school work. For that I am so thankful and appreciate how Katie was there for me throughout the semester.

I hope to stay in touch with everyone and that this is not a final goodbye. I will be on the look out for future events and cannot wait to see what the CGS has in store for the future.

In Retrospect

It’s hard to believe that this whirlwind semester is coming to an end. It seems as though just yesterday I was starting my junior year and was meeting the CGS team for the first time. I knew that it was going to be the busiest semester of my college career thus far. What I didn’t know, however, was how much I would come to enjoy the challenge. I truly have come to value the experiences of the last sixteen weeks, especially my work with the Center for Global Studies. Interning for CGS was no doubt an engaging and unique experience, largely because of the skills I expanded and the topics that I was exposed to.

As mentioned earlier, because of my majors, I have gotten the opportunity to study some very interesting global topics. However, it pales in comparison to the wide range of topics that I learned about at CGS.  From the Brown Bags, where I learned about Chinese Religious Citizenship or Photography in Senegal to the event about Fascism organized by Aaron and I—I found that I was constantly learning about thought-provoking issues that I wouldn’t have been able to study otherwise. This is perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of interning: always learning something new.

Another highlight was getting the opportunity to interview Dr. Sunetra Sen Narayan and Dr. Shalini Narayanan. I had never done a formal interview such as this one, and both women were incredibly sweet, making it a really great first experience. I also can’t leave out Bassem Youssef in this semester’s highlights, however, I wish timing would have allowed me to have attended more of his events!

The creation of a newsletter was also something I had never had the opportunity to do before. While it was often challenging to succinctly communicate details from information-packed events, I enjoyed the opportunity and freedom to write about aspects of each lecture or topic that I found most interesting. This semester, I also expanded skills that I do not often get to use. I enjoy designing promotional materials such as posters, and through working with Sarah, I definitely feel as though my design skills improved.

Thus, in retrospect, I have no doubt that I learned some really new and interesting things about topics I would have not originally expected to be exploring. The skills that I utilized and strengthened at CGS will no doubt play a role in future internships, schoolwork, and life as a whole.

I am sad that this is my only semester with CGS, as I will be abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands in the spring of 2018. During my time abroad, I have no doubt that I will continue to learn more about global issues and cultures. I would like to thank the CGS team for making this internship a very positive experience. I wish Sarah, Mary, Emily, and Aaron the best in all of their future endeavors, and hope that I will see them around campus and at future events!

-Katie

An Eventful Few Weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always considered myself a planner. Whether it is planning to complete various assignments to making plans with friends, I like to stay organized. Therefore, when Sarah said that Aaron and I were going to have to plan an event for International Education Week, I was excited. At the same time, however, I found it daunting. Throughout my time at Penn State, I have assisted with the planning of various events and conferences with the clubs I am involved in. However, never before had I been given such open-ended instructions: Aaron and I could plan the event in whatever format and on whatever (global and timely) topic we wanted! While this was a little daunting, I knew that we would be able to put together a great event, and knew that Sarah, Mary, and Emily would be there to help us.

The fact that Aaron and I are both in the same History of Fascism and Nazism class made the topic selection easier, as we soon realized that we should involve our professor, Dr. Guettel. Thus, most of the planning went smoothly, and the next time I have to plan something similar, I do not think that I will feel so intimidated. However, one of the biggest lessons that I learned was that you cannot expect people to respond as quickly as you would like them to. Even though Aaron the reaching out to other potential panelists, it was still very frustrating to hear that people were not communicative or responsive in a timely manner. It made the process of finding speakers incredibly difficult. I think that this was definitely the biggest obstacle we had to overcome in the planning stages. However, the frustration paid off, and the panelists that we did have speak were all very informed, well spoken, and easy to work with.

Overall, when it came to the night of the event, I think that it went really well! I believe that the three speakers—Dr. Guettel, Mr. Reuning, and Mr. Morabito, all of whom spoke on different aspects of Fascism—gave the evening a unique edge. By including the history of fascism, as well as fascist and alt. right movements from an international politics and United States politics perspective, it was an engaging talk for individuals of all disciplines and interests. Additionally, not only was the content informative, the event was also well attended. The audience was engaged and participated in the discussion that followed the presentations. Therefore, I definitely believe that all of the hard work and planning for this event paid off.

-Katie Bartuska

 

“Echoes of 20th Century Fascism on Modern Politics and Culture” Synopsis

On October 24, my fellow intern Katie and I got to host our event “Echoes of 20th CenturyFascism on Modern Politics and Culture” after a long and arduous period of planning – it wasn’t easy!

Finding a venue and time was easy, thanks to the help of Sarah, Mary, and Emily, but finding speakers was the difficult part. I had to have sent out emails to at least 30 professors and graduate students before we finalized with Dr. Jens-Uwe Guettel, Doctoral Candidate Kevin Reuning, and graduate student Brad Morabito.

Despite the strenuous task of finding the speakers, I could not have asked for more knowledgable or engaged speakers than the three gentlemen that we had. It was evident that each was an expert in their field not only in their well-organized presentations, but in their responses to questions from the crowd after they presented.

On that note, the crowd honestly surprised me. We had over 20 participants, more than I wouldhave expected, and all of them were entertained, engaged, and interested in the discussion. I had some friends from my political science and history courses, and they all gave me encouraging words about the event since they knew that I had helped plan it. Them being there meant a lot for me because I know how busy their course schedules are, yet they made time to support me and learn about fascism – not necessarily the most fun of topics.

The CGS staff was also very commendable through it all and helped make it a huge success. Katie helped immensely with planning, organizing, and hosting with me, while Sarah, Emily, and Mary helped with the logistics and made it possible to pull of the event seamlessly. Their expertise in event hosting really showed.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience that taught me valuable communication skills, event planning, and communication among speakers, colleagues, and school faculty. Moving forward, due to the lessons learned from emailing professors, I will have to start planning events about two months out, at least!

– Aaron Morris